Access in the arts in the United States

There are a number of audio description companies in the United States providing either the service themselves or training programs for theatre staff. These include Audio Description Solutions, who are a service provider and facilitator of training programs nationally, and the Audio Description Associates, operating training programs across the country.

Captions also play a large role in bringing performing arts to Americans who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

America's national cultural centre in Washington DC, the John F Kennedy Center, is a leader in access provision through audio description and captioning. Other major performing arts centres that provide these services are the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, The Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, and New York's Neil Simon Theatre. These are just a handful of venues across the USA where accessible theatre is performed. Many museums and galleries in the United States also provide access using technology through audio described tours and self-guided pictorial descriptions. For example, the sixteen museums and National Zoo within the Smithsonian Institution provide all their publications in an audio format and produce a 'Touch and Hear' guide with audio directions to touchable exhibits. The Smithsonian is located in the Washington DC region. It is not uncommon for audiovisual displays to either be permanently captioned or provide an option for patrons to watch with our without captions.

New York's Museum of Modern Art offers MoMA Audio. This is an audio program devoted to the Museum's collection and special exhibitions. Available at the Museum and online free of charge, MoMA Audio includes the following programs: Special Exhibitions, Modern Voices, Modern Kids, Visual Descriptions, MoMA Teen Audio, and Think Modern Audio Archive.

Access to musical events such as opera or musical theatre can come in the form of audio description during a performance, or prior to and at intervals of a performance. This latter service is sometimes referred to as audio introductions.

The Theatre Development Fund's Theatre Access Program (TAP) is a New York-based not-for-profit org anisation providing its members with easier access to Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Membership is free, and members are offered information and ticket access to captioned and audio described performances.  The TAP also runs a ticket service.


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