There is something special about experiencing a live performance, whether it be a pop concert, an opera, a stage-play or a ballet. But, for people with disabilities, especially those with hearing or vision challenges, these performances have often been inaccessible for them to share the enjoyment. However, due to technology advancements, an increasing numbers of venues now offer a range of complimentary accessibility services to promote more inclusive experiences.
One such venue is The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (SCPA) in Las Vegas. The SCPA strives to make its events accessible to all its patrons in the community with accessible parking, seating and wheelchair assistance. But, it is the advancements in listening and visual technology which makes the venue truly accessible for all. Assisted listening devices are available free of charge for most performances. The infra-red audio system enhances the sounds emitted through the microphones to the concert goers’ hearing aids. Also, individuals with hearing aids may opt to use the loop system where a special unit is loaned out for the performance in exchange for a driver’s license. Open captioning or I-Caption is available at selected performances. This state of the art visual aid provides closed captioning for live theatrical performances. The fully automated system can display dialogue, lyrics and sound effects on a handheld display.
D-scriptive is an audio description service for people who are visually impaired which offers a detailed account of the onstage action, choreography, sound, and lighting effects. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters can often be booked upon request at many live venues’ shows or events. The SCPA schedules these interpreters for specific performances. For specific requests, the center suggests patrons book the service at least two weeks in advance.
For more information on accessibility services at performance venues, click here.