In partnership with deaffriendly.com, the Deaf Spotlight Accessibility Index is an opportunity for us to recognize businesses that are accessible and deaf-friendly within the Pacific Northwest arts and entertainment industries.
To make it on the index, we used deaffriendly reviews written by you, community members as well as personal experiences from the DS committee. We looked at two very important things:
Customer Service: Positive experience? Friendly attitude, flexibility, patience, eye contact, show respect, display cultural sensitivity?
Congratulations to 2019 inductees!
2019: ACT Theatre
What makes ACT Theatre so deserving to be on the Deaf Spotlight Index list? Their on-going commitment to being accommodative and inclusive for our Deaf and hard of hearing community.
A few months ago, ACT Theatre produced Romeo + Juliet starring Deaf talent Josh Castille and PNW’s very own Howie Seago. The front of house, people who work with Deaf and hard of hearing patrons when they come through the doors were trained on how to appropriately interact with Deaf and Hard of hearing people. They hired sign master Ellie Savidge to work on the scripts ASL translation, and Sign Coach Monique Holt to work with performance interpreters. In addition during the ASL performances they used a Deaf Interpreter Billy Seago.
During the month long production of Romeo + Juliet, ACT Theatre offered 6 ASL interpreted performances.. They also provided Options! When they realized that the ASL shows were sold out, they even added on one more day to accommodate the number of Deaf people wanting to see the show. They had listening devices and caption devices at every performance. They hosted a community talk in which they used that platform to educate theatre patrons about the experience for Deaf and hearing cast and community members in working together.
To this day, ACT Theatre continues to actively invest in improving their accessibility for Deaf and HH audiences.
What makes 5th Avenue so deserving to be on the Deaf Spotlight Index list? Their on-going commitment to being accommodative and inclusive for our Deaf and hard of hearing community.
Last year, 5th Ave theatre produced The Hunchback of Notre Dame to Seattle starring Deaf talent Josh Castile. Not only did 5th Avenue theatre front of house take our deaf-friendly customer service training, they also took a workplace training specifically for the cast and crew working with Josh so that his work environment was accessible and friendly.
During the month long production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 5th Avenue offered 8 ASL interpreted performances ! Something we rarely get to experience. They had listening devices ready at every performance, captioned performances, and their staff were always ready with deaf-friendly customer service. They hired Sign Coach Ryan Schlecht, and also invited Deaf youth from ADWAS, Edmonds Woodway High School, and Northwest School for Deaf and HoH Children for an ASL-interpreted final dress rehearsal.
2018: Ark Lodge Cinemas
What makes Ark lodge so great is first and for most their attitude! When approached by a DeafBlind resident in the area about offering open caption movies – this small, community based theatre with a small budget, made it happen. Why? They believe in doing the right thing!
They also offer:
• open captioned movies every Tuesday
weekly emails with the open caption movie each week
Paramount's long-term commitment to inclusivity have earned raves and ongoing attendance from the Deaf community. Offering a range of events and productions (musicals, comedies, dance performances and more), the Deaf and HH patrons are able to enjoy a night out in Seattle, WA!
• Hire qualified ASL interpreters
• Offer open Caption performances
• Offer Assisted Listening Devices
• Have a dedicated accessibility page on their website
Salon of Shame is another great contributor for their long-term inclusive efforts. Since 2005 when they were just a small group of friends reading stories at the Jewelbox Theatre, they provided ASL interpreters upon request. As they grew, they expanded their access and started providing ASL interpreters to every show, regardless if there was a request or not.
• Reserve a portion of their tickets just for Deaf Patrons
• Have reserved seating for Deaf Patrons
• Have a dedicated Deaf and Hard of hearing accessibility page on their website
• Encourages Deaf readers to participate in the reading of their diaries