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Hedgerow Theatre to Present Relaxed & Audio-Described Performance of THE WEIR

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Hedgerow Theatre will offer a relaxed and audio-described performance for each production in the upcoming season.

Hedgerow Theatre to Present Relaxed & Audio-Described Performance of THE WEIR

Hedgerow Theatre will offer its first-ever relaxed and audio-described performance of Conor McPherson's award-winning The Weir for adult audiences on Sunday, October 17th at 2pm. Relaxed performances are specially adjusted sensory-friendly shows, designed to create a theatre experience that is judgment-free, and welcoming of individuals with a wide range of needs and abilities, including, but not limited to individuals with Alzheimer's and individuals with autism. This is also for anyone who would enjoy a more relaxed theatre-going environment. Audio-described performances include a live audio feed of the physical action of the play for patrons who are blind or experience low vision.

To nurture an inclusive environment for all patrons, especially those with special needs, etiquette associated with standard theatre attendance will be relaxed, for example, patrons may engage with the work on their own terms, including the ability to vocalize, maneuver, and move from their seats during the performance, as needed. Hedgerow Theatre staff and artists are trained to be inviting and accommodating to individual needs. Specific adjustments include availability of a designated "chill" area in the theatre lobby; house lights kept up partially during the entire performance and lowered sound levels; and space throughout the theater for standing and movement. Preparation materials and further Details/">Details will be available on the theatre website and sent to ticket holders via email prior to the show to prepare audiences for their experience at the theatre.

For audio-description, patrons will receive individual headsets which relay the in-the-moment description of the visual elements of the play, including the set, props, actors, and physical action throughout. Patrons can reserve (complimentary) headsets by calling the box office or by including a note when purchasing online. Nicole Sardella, Philadelphia's preeminent audio-describer will lead the pre-performance sensory tour and provide the description for this performance.

Roger Ideishi, Program Director for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and Professor of Health, Human Function, and Rehabilitation Sciences with George Washington University has supported the development of inclusive relaxed performances across the country and internationally. He shares, "Relaxed performances have historically been focused on children's and youth theatre. The relaxed performance movement started over a decade ago but children and youth who participated in inclusive welcoming environments as a 10 year-old became adults. The 10 year-olds grew up!"

The Weir is specifically geared toward adult audiences. This Laurence Olivier Award-winning play takes place in a small bar in rural Ireland, where a few locals gather to share stories, drinks, and banter. On this night, a newcomer from Dublin joins them, and the tales and connections get deeper and darker in this intimate, jovial, haunting play from Conor McPherson, "the finest playwright of his generation" (The New York Times). This powerful play examines what it means to regather as a community and share in laughter and loss.

Hedgerow Theatre's new Executive Artistic Director, Marcie Bramucci, is eager to open the organization to more members of the community and brings with her a robust track record of expanding access to live theatre through inclusive offerings and services. "The arts should be for all members of our community, a basic human right," notes Bramucci. "It is therefore essential that we carve out intentional space for individuals who may otherwise not feel welcome. This is a space for individuals to engage with the work on their own terms and to be their fullest selves." She has collaborated with and advised Delaware Theatre Company, FringeArts, McCarter Theatre Company, Montgomery Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Pennsylvania Ballet, People's Light, Theatre Horizon and more, frequently working in partnership with Ideishi.

Ideishi relays, "[While] many places worked hard to create welcoming, supportive, inclusive experiences for children and youth, inclusion is still a challenge in society. Inclusive environments, inclusive principles, inclusive attitudes rarely exist in the real world. We can do better as a society. We can change the world by working towards creating physically, socially, and culturally inclusive environments."

Bramucci, Ideishi, and fellow castmate Pete Pryor together first introduced relaxed and sensory-friendly performances to the Philadelphia region at People's Light in 2014. Barrymore award-winning Pryor returns to the stage after several years away in this production. He teaches and directs as the Pathway School's full-time Theatre Arts Program Coordinator. The Pathway School provides leading-edge special education and therapeutic support for students ages 5 - 21. In his work with the Pathway School Pete notes, "I love learning about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and its application to teaching, to address not only physical barriers, but also to address the intangible barriers."

"I am grateful to have had past experiences with Marcie bringing these performances to the forefront of our artistic communities," says Pryor. "Having performed in and directed several productions with relaxed performances, and as the father of a son with autism, the relaxed performances were always events that were celebrated by my family with warmth and an abundance of joy. At a Relaxed Performance you can feel free and safe to be yourself a production in a space that celebrates the uniqueness of us all."

Hedgerow Theatre will offer a relaxed and audio-described performance for each production in the upcoming season. Next up, the return of Hedgerow's beloved holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, directed by Hedgerow's Director Emeritus, Penelope Reed. The relaxed and audio-described performance will take place on Sunday, December 12th at 2pm.

Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley, Rd, Media, PA 19063.

PRODUCTION INFORMATION:

The Weir

Written by: Conor McPherson

Directed by: Claire Moyer

Performed by:

Tyler Elliott, Stephen Patrick Smith*, Pete Pryor*, Nik Menotiades* and Marcie Bramucci

*notes actors appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association

Stage managed by: Kate Sparacio

Scenic design by: Stefanie Hansen

Lighting and sound design by: Shannon Zura

Costume design by: Liudi Ariel Wang

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets to the relaxed performance of The Weir are $15 with the promocode RELAXED15. To purchase tickets, visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org or call the box office at 610-565-4211. For groups of 10 or more, contact Art Hunter, Group Sales & Outreach Director ahunter@hedgerowtheatre.org or 610-565-4211. If you have specific

Relaxed & audio-described performance of The Weir is:

10/17 at 2pm

Additional performance dates of The Weir are:

10/14 at 2pm, 10/15 at 7pm, 10/16 at 2pm& 7pm, 10/21 at 7pm, 10/22 at 7pm, 10/23 at 2pm & 7pm, 10/24 at 2pm, 10/28 at 7pm, 10/29 at 7pm, 10/30 at 2pm & 6pm, 10/21 at 2pm

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Patron and artist safety are top priority. In anticipation of our reopening, Hedgerow has installed iWave Air filters by Nu-Calgon and has also installed new seating, which will allow more space for each patron. We continue to monitor the evolving situation with the Delta variant and accordingly reassess our safety protocols.

Current patron protocols include:

-proof of COVID vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of a performance for all patrons indoors,

-masks required for all patrons indoors,

-limited seating capacity for indoor and outdoor productions,

Protocols are subject to change. Up-to-date safety protocols can be found on their website.


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