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Enhancing Accessibility for the Audience

Enhanced Accessibility for Live Performance of "The Pirates of Penzance" with Audio Description Narration for Low Vision or Blind Audience Members

In a landmark move toward inclusivity, First Coast Opera’s upcoming live performance of The Pirates of Penzance will offer Audio Description narration, catering specifically to audience members with low vision or blindness. This groundbreaking initiative aims to make theatrical experiences more accessible and enjoyable for all individuals, regardless of their visual abilities.


The Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan's timeless comic opera, promises to dazzle audiences with its vibrant characters, witty dialogue, and unforgettable musical numbers. However, for those with visual impairments, fully appreciating the nuances of a live theatrical production can often pose challenges. Recognizing this, First Coast Opera has collaborated with accessibility experts to introduce Audio Description narration, enriching the experience for all attendees.


Through the use of their own headsets, audience members with low vision or blindness will have access to real-time verbal descriptions of the visual elements of the performance. These descriptions are accessed by use of an app which can be downloaded to their phone, and will offer detailed explanations of key actions, settings, costumes, and facial expressions, ensuring that every moment of the production is vividly conveyed to all participants.


"We are thrilled to incorporate this innovative approach to accessibility in the performing arts," said Curtis Tucker, General and Artistic Director. "At First Coast Opera, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can fully engage with and enjoy our productions. By offering Audio Description narration for The Pirates of Penzance, we hope to open doors to a wider audience and provide an enriching cultural experience for individuals of all abilities. In addition to this new initiative, we are also offering large print playbills for our mainstage programs."


These initiatives have been made possible by a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts and the St. Johns Cultural Council and a second grant from The Truist Foundation.


The live performance of The Pirates of Penzance featuring Audio Description narration will take place at Lewis Auditorium on March 15 and 17, 2024. Tickets are available for purchase through

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