The New Jersey Theatre Alliance has a deep and abiding commitment to gaining access to the arts regardless of a physical disability. As the founding member and coordinator of the Cultural Access Network, NJTA has been the dominant arts organization in New Jersey to demonstrate a leadership commitment to working with the state's theatres and arts community in helping to ensure that each of them become accessible to people with disabilities.
To assist theatres in their access efforts, NJTA provides mailing lists, loans equipment, provides sensitivity training for staff of member theatres, and assists organizations in their education of ADA and the development of their long range plans for ADA compliance.
Services for People with Vision Loss
NJTA works diligently to assist member theatres in making their programs accessible to patrons with visual impairments through the establishment of audio description services. Audio description enables the patron with visual impairments to hear a live, concise description of the action on stage in between dialogue and song and is heard through an FM transmitter. To assist with the substantial capital investment required to launch the program, the NJTA has purchased FM receivers and headsets for theatres to share in order to provide audio-described performances to their patrons with visual impairments. In addition, the NJTA's Access Coordinator and Executive Director have worked with the member theatres in training staff and volunteers to become qualified audio-describers. The NJTA maintains an updated list of qualified describers willing to describe at events across the state.
In an effort to expand the number of qualified describers, the NJTA has established a "mentoring" program that allows the most seasoned describers to work with new describers to enhance their abilities to effectively evoke the theatricality of the theatre's offerings. As a complement to the audio-described performance, the NJTA has also trained members of the theatres to provide pre-performance "sensory" seminars. These seminars allow visually impaired patrons to feel props, costumes, and set pieces to further enhance their theatrical experience. The seminars, coupled with the audio description, enable the patron with visual impairments to have a complete theatre experience with dignity and independence.Back to page navigation
Services for People Who Are Deaf or Hearing Impaired
The New Jersey Theatre Alliance served as the conduit to providing funds for member theatres to install assistive listening systems in their theatres. The Alliance maintains three assistive listening systems that can be loaned to theatres and other arts organizations across the state upon request.
In addition, NJTA provides lists of theatrical interpreters to theatres as they prepare for sign-interpreted performances. NJTA also assists theatres in making arrangements for open captioned performances.Back to page navigation
Marketing to People with Disabilities
All of NJTA's publications include information on accessible programming, including audio-description, and are available on tape, large print or Braille. The organization's website has been designed to provide on-going information about special events at member theatres, including audio-described and sign-interpreted performances.Back to page navigation