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Commonweal Theatre To Continue Audio Description

Tue, Mar 12th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Arts & Culture

LANESBORO, MN — The Commonweal Theatre Company located in historic downtown Lanesboro, is proud to announce the renewal of the audio-description service to enhance the enjoyment of live theatre for audience members with low vision. On specially-designated performance days, patrons can attend the Commonweal Theatre and receive the benefit of a trained audio-describer narrating visual elements of the production through a discreet earpiece.

“This service allows us to take access to live theatre to a whole new level,” says Commonweal Theatre’s Executive Director Hal Cropp. “Thanks to a special grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Commonweal was able to purchase the equipment and gain the necessary training that we needed to provide this service to people who may not be able to enjoy live theatre otherwise. Our goal is for persons with low vision to have an experience at the Commonweal that is just as exciting and emotionally resonant as what a person with sight would have. We provided the service for selected productions during 2012 and are thrilled to be able to expand the service to all five 2013 season offerings.”

Patrons who reserve this service are asked to arrive an hour before the show. At this time, the Commonweal will provide a tactile tour of the set, costumes, and hand out personal sound receivers on which the description can be heard. Audio description begins twenty minutes before the show, to set the scene and create mental images of characters, set, and costumes before the performance actually begins.

Once the show is underway, audio-describers provide intermittent description to give a complete picture of all lighting, costume, and set changes, as well as character movements and gestures. This service can only be heard through the personal devices and discreet earpiece that the Commonweal provides and will not disrupt other audience members who are in attendance. This season, the Commonweal is pleased to offer audio-descriptions for all five season offerings as well as the Apprentice Company capstone project, Miss Julie. The described performance for Miss Julie is Sunday, March 24 at 1:30pm. Description performances during the regular season are as follows: A Doll’s House on Sunday, May 5; Blithe Spirit on Sunday, June 2; Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure on Sunday, July 14; The Memory of Water on Sunday, November 3; The Last Night of Ballyhoo on Sunday, November 24. All performance times are 1:30pm.

Reservations for this service must be made at least one week in advance at the Commonweal Theatre Box Office at 208 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro or by calling 1-800-657-7025, or emailing

Additionally, the Commonweal Theatre has Braille versions of programs available with advance notice to persons with low vision. Large print editions of the theatre’s programs are available upon request at the Box Office.

Funding for Commonweal Theatre’s programming is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funders. For more details, including information about schedules, tickets, and other Commonweal programs, visit or call the Box Office at 1-800-657-7025.

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