Point of View


BLIND AND VISION-IMPAIRED GUESTS EXPERIENCE TOUCH TOURS

One of the ongoing commitments of the Adrienne Arsht Center to our community is to be accessible to everyone regardless of disability challenges. In addition to the Saturday matinee sign-interpreted and Sunday matinee open-captioned Broadway in Miami performances already offered for deaf and hearing-impaired guests, this season the Center introduced audio descriptions for blind and vision-impaired guests for the Sunday matinee performances. And just recently, the Center added another program— touch tours for The Nutcracker and Beauty and the Beast, in collaboration with Miami City Ballet and Broadway Across America.

For The Nutcracker, Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Miami City Ballet, generously gave his time pre-performance to give the history and description of a number of the costumes and props used in the production. A group of vision impaired guests had the opportunity to touch the costumes to fully enjoy the texture and style of the silks, satins, and lace and to handle the props. While everyone enjoyed the delicate costumes of the Flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy, the overall favorite for tactile richness was that of the Rat King. The touch tour literally set the stage for the performance that followed.

Having received rave reviews from our guests, we approached the Beauty and the Beast company and asked if they would also agree to share their time with our guests. While the touch tour for The Nutcracker was held in the Next Generation Green Room of the Ziff Ballet Opera House, for Beauty and the Beast our guests along with their companions went right on stage where they had the opportunity to touch not just the costumes and props, but also the actual set. Being on the stage also gave guests a first-hand understanding of the length and breadth of the performance space. The entire experience was deemed thrilling, but most agreed that the highlight of the tour was meeting the Beast!

Although not every production lends itself to touch tours, the Center will continue to explore the opportunity to offer this service for our vision impaired and blind guests whenever possible with the goal of making the Adrienne Arsht Center, our home, a welcome place to experience great performances and superior guest service for everyone.

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