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Hedgerow Theatre Executive Artistic Director Marcie Bramucci Honored By Office Of Accessibility And VSA At The Kennedy Center

Recipients must demonstrate success improving or providing access for individuals with disabilities for a minimum of 5 years.

Hedgerow Theatre Executive Artistic Director Marcie Bramucci Honored By Office Of Accessibility And VSA At The Kennedy Center

Hedgerow Theatre's Executive Artistic Director, Marcie Bramucci was recently honored by the Kennedy Center's Office of Accessibility and VSA during the organization's national Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference and annual awards program. Bramucci was honored as a LEAD Community Assets awardee, which recognizes the achievements of cultural arts administrators or organizations that continually demonstrate success with access initiatives, improving accessibility in their organization, city, state or region.

"Marcie Bramucci is a leader who is asking the key questions for systemic changes," said Roger Ideishi, JD, OT/L, FAOTA Program Director, Occupational Therapy Programs at George Washington University, who nominated her for the award. "Our industry needs to expand to organizational transformation around accessibility. Marcie is doing this. She can be an industry example for how senior leadership in organizations can advance disability inclusion. She is a critical Community Asset to the arts accessibility and inclusion industry, the nation, and the world. She is deserving of this honor and so much more!"

Recipients must demonstrate success improving or providing access for individuals with disabilities for a minimum of 5 years. The body of work will be a comprehensive accessibility initiative that recognizes the diversity within the disability community.

"Every year the Kennedy Center convenes the most dedicated and passionate accessibility advocates from around the world and the country at LEAD." stated Betty Siegel, Director of Accessibility and VSA at the Kennedy Center. "The LEAD Community Assets awardees are nominated by their peers, co-workers, supervisors, senior staff, or board members. The awardees are the ones who believe that a community is not whole until all members in it have the opportunity to be included in and access cultural arts experiences. Marcie embodies this wonderfully and through her continuous work, she has created spaces and places at Hedgerow where people who are neurodiverse can feel a sense of welcome and belonging in the arts. Having met Marcie several years ago, and seen her delight in making the arts more accessible, I know this award is well deserved."

Marcie Bramucci is an artist, arts producer, and champion for inclusion. In 2021, she became Executive Artistic Director of Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA, a 99-year-old resident professional theatre with a robust slate of year-round offerings. In the 2021-22 season, Marcie instituted relaxed and audio-described performances, and sensory tours for each production in Hedgerow's season. In April, Hedgerow partnered with Delaware County Community College Drama Department to co-produce Jewel Walker's movement-based Tuesday, a play with no words. Bramucci teamed up with local chapters of the Hearing Loss Association of America and Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC) to open the production to individuals who experience hearing loss and those who are D/deaf. Marcie and representatives with the HLAA are together pursuing options for expanded access to captioning for these audiences going forward. She is currently developing a new play by Juliette Dunn that intersects neurodiversity and clowning, which is set to premiere at Hedgerow in the company's 100th anniversary season next year.

Previously, Marcie served as Director of Community Investment for People's Light (Malvern, PA), where she supported the theatre's acclaimed New Play Frontiers program and fostered community exchange. Bramucci produced People's Light (and the Philadelphia region)'s first and subsequent relaxed performances, and institutionally implemented audio-description, ASL interpretation and expanded open caption performances. With Temple's Institute on Disabilities, she coordinated the US launch of Smart Caption Glasses (developed by The National Theatre of Great Britain) for real-time, captioning for individuals who are D/deaf or experience hearing loss.

Bramucci has coordinated cross-institutional learning among a cohort of mid-Atlantic theatres for capacity-building toward increased accessibility and has consulted with FringeArts, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Abbey Theatre (Ireland), among others. Marcie is a US representative of the International Network of Relaxed Performances, a group to grow out of an international study by Ciné-ma Difference.

"Marcie is constantly in pursuit of learning more, said John Orr, Executive Director of Art-Reach. "She engages with the community in authentic ways and transfers power to people with disabilities to better understand what they want. Marcie is a constant collaborator in Greater Philadelphia, always placing the needs of the community first. She is a frequent attendee (and presenter) at workshops, seminars and conferences. Best of all, Marcie eagerly helps other people transform their own work. She selflessly advocates for greater accessibility in the arts in an effort to improve the entire sector."

Marcie believes access to and participation in the arts is a basic human right. She strives to make her work and the work of others increasingly inclusive and accessible, anchored in the insights and experiences of the individuals who may not already feel welcome or centered in the arts.

"I am deeply appreciative both of this honor and of the exceptional partners and self-advocates I've had the pleasure to work with and learn from along the way," notes Bramucci. "It is my hope that as organizations, we continue to adapt and evolve to engage all members of our communities - not just as consumers but as co-creators - and that as individuals, we elevate one another and make more room at every table for true inclusion."

This Sunday, August 21st at 7:30pm is Hedgerow's relaxed and audio-described performance of Twelfth Night performed outdoors, with description provided by Nicole Sardella. Relaxed Performances provide a welcoming environment that lets all patrons express themselves freely, without judgment or inhibition. These live theatre experiences invite and encourage individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, sensory sensitivities, and anyone who would appreciate a more relaxed theatre-going environment to enjoy the performance in a "shush-free" zone. Audio description is a service where a trained describer uses words to describe the essential visual elements of a play/musical within the gaps in dialogue.Audio-description is meant to provide information on visual content that is considered essential to the understanding of the production. Patrons are encouraged to reserve (complimentary) headsets for audio-description in advance by contacting Hedgerow's box office at boxoffice@hedgerowtheatre.org or 610-565-4211. More details on inclusive performances for the productions and season ahead to be announced.

As an integral part of the Kennedy Center's Access/VSA International Network, the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) program advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities in arts and culture. With a focus on expanding the breadth and scope of accessible programming, LEAD provides an opportunity for professionals in the field to develop best practices and resources; engage in conversations with colleagues and experts from around the world; and learn practical methods for designing inclusive arts experiences and environments. The LEAD Conference not only introduces those new to the field to cultural accessibility solutions, but provides ongoing learning, support, camaraderie, and motivation-necessary fuel for anyone working to change the status quo.

Creating a world where people with disabilities of all ages can learn through, participate in, and engage with the arts.

At the Office of Accessibility and VSA, a Jean Kennedy Smith arts and disability program, we're passionate about access to the arts for people with disabilities. To ensure the arts are accessible to all-from children to older adults-we make Kennedy Center performances and facilities accessible to all audiences, and provide resources, programs, and opportunities for educators, cultural administrators, emerging and professional artists and performers with disabilities. Learn more about upcoming events, programs, resources, and opportunities at kennedy-center.org/vsa. Together we can be a catalyst for change.

Hedgerow Theatre is a resident professional theatre dedicated to providing cultural enrichment, engaging entertainment, and training in theatre arts and management since 1923. As stewards of a nineteenth-century grist mill turned theatre building, Hedgerow produces whole-hearted, resonant live theatre in an intimate 100-seat venue, and across its 2.5 acre campus outdoors. The company offers extensive educational programs through theatre school, in-school residencies, and touring programs, and provides performance, technical training, and theatre management opportunities for Resident Fellows in a close-knit and mutually supportive environment.


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