Theatre Development Fund, through its TDF Accessibility Programs (TAP), will sponsor the 10th Annual "Interpreting for the Theatre" Institute from June 4 - 9 held at The Juilliard School in New York City. Since 1968, this one-week intensive program for professional sign language interpreters from across the United States offers proficient theatre interpreters the opportunity to explore advanced techniques for signing plays and musicals. Classes will be taught by New York's top theatre interpreters, with involvement from members of the Deaf community throughout the week.
"With over 175 of our graduates working in theatres in cities large and small, we feel that we have succeeded in raising the national standard for theatre sign language interpretation. After their week in New York City studying with the true masters of the craft, the students return to their hometowns and apply what they learned to their art," says Director of TDF Accessibility Programs, Lisa Carling. "It has been our mission to ensure a more professional quality of interpreting for theatre goers who use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication."
Areas of study will include: "Theatre Interpreting Techniques," taught by Alan Champion and Candace Broecker-Penn (who between them have interpreted over 130 Broadway plays and musicals); "Translation," taught by Stephanie Feyne and Lynnette Taylor; "Body Work" by Alexander Technique expert Lauren Schiff; and "Contribution of Deaf Professionals," which will draw upon Deaf professionals in the tri-State area who have contributed to the field of sign language interpretation for the theatre.
The eighteen students participating in this year's institute hail from eleven different states and Canada. They were accepted into the "Interpreting For The Theatre" program through a videotaped audition. Most of the participants interpret for Broadway road shows and regional theatre companies in their hometowns. The week culminates in a final class project that gives each participant the opportunity to interpret segments of a show to a closed audience of Deaf evaluators who provide individual critiques in translation and performance. As a bonus, several participants are chosen to assist their instructors with the sign language interpreted performance of Company on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Saturday, June 9 at 2pm.
The new Broadway production of Company recently earned three Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Director for John Doyle and Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Raúl Esparza. Mr. Esparza recently won both the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Leading Actor in a Musical. To date, Company has received three Drama Desk Award nominations, five Outer Critic Circle Award nominations, and three Drama League Award nominations for the 2006-2007 theatre season.
TDF Accessibility Programs (TAP) is an invitation to the performing arts for people with physical disabilities. Special discount tickets in the orchestra are set aside for theatre goers who are hard of hearing or deaf, partially sighed, blind, require aisle seating for medical reasons, use wheelchairs or cannot climb stars.
For theatre goers with hearing loss, TDF sign-language interprets approximately 12 Broadway and Off Broadway shows and open captions over 30 shows each season. TDF presented the first sign-language interpreted performance of a Broadway show with The Elephant Man in 1980, again made Broadway history in 1997 with the first open captioned performance of a Broadway show, Barrymore, thus opening up theatre to an entire population of individuals with mild to severe hearing loss who are unable to utilize American Sign Language or receive only partial help from assistive listening devices.