The Public Theater - A Case Study on Virtual Accessibility

Recorded On: 12/07/2020


Beth Prevor, Hands on Sign Interpreted Performances
Richard Denney III, Public Theater
David Chu, c2

About this Session

Without the boundaries of space and time, what does accessibility in our new digital theater look like, and is it worth the time and effort? Join these three thought partners, committed to offering access for all, in a discussion about The Public Theater's production of THE LINE, by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. We share our accessibility planning, execution, delivery, and learning for this New York Times Critic's Pick crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.Placeholder Text

Learning Objectives
  • Through presentation of a case study of the accessibility services offered for the virtual production of The Public Theater's - The Line, participants will learn how the following access services were provided, including:
    o Closed Captioning Access
    o American Sign Language Interpretation Access
    o Audio Description Access
    o Spanish and Mandarin Subtitle Access
    o Marketing and Communications
  • Participants will also learn how working with various community partners, the marketing aspect of these services to various disability communities was a core component to the success of the project.
  • The presentation will also highlight some of the ups and downs associated with the work and how last minute issues were dealt with.


This session is a part of the 2020 National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

Beth Prevor

Executive Director, Hands On

Beth Prevor is a co-founder and Executive Director of Hands On, an arts service organization that advocates for access to the cultural arts for the Deaf community and audiences with disabilities. For the last 30+ years, Hands On has been providing access for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities of NYC through sign language interpreted theater at some of NYC’s most prestigious theaters including The Roundabout Theater Company, The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater and The New Victory Theater.

As Executive Director, Beth works with arts organizations to ensure inclusion for all by providing marketing, community engagement and audience development strategies. As a disabled advocate, Beth is active as an advisory member to many groups including, The Shubert Accessibility Committee, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and the Museum, Arts and Culture Access Consortium (MAC).  She has led workshops on accessibility and the arts for organizations around the country including the Kennedy Center’s LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference, Americans for the Arts, The National Arts Marketing Project, the Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York (ART/NY) and Theater Communications Group (TCG). She currently works as a Disability Consultant with ART/NY.

She is the 2015 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center’s Excellence in Accessibility Leadership Lifetime Achievement award.


Twitter: @HandsOnSign  

Richard Denney III

Director of Audience Services, Public Theater

Richard Denney is an experienced arts professional that understands the importance of relationships, communication, and access. His lifelong passion for the arts has developed into a career focused on creating that same passion in others. In his role at The Public Theater, when not focused on patron care and experience, he leads the charge to ensure that everyone has a place in the room regardless of ability.

David Chu

Founder, c2

David Chu is a founder of c2, the 501(c)3 company which pioneered and introduced live theatrical captioning for patrons with all degrees of hearing loss. c2's mission is to partner with theatres, large and small, across the country, to develop and facilitate real and authentic live captioning programs, and live theatre subtitling. Captioning history includes performances on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at Broadway touring houses across the country, from Lincoln Center to Kennedy Center to Denver Center. Regional Theatre Tony Award partners include Alliance Theatre, A.C.T, A.R.T, Berkeley Rep, Chicago Shakespeare, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theatre Center, Denver Center Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf, Lookingglass, Mark Taper Forum, McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare, Paper Mill Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Signature Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre, Trinity Rep and Yale Rep. c2 provides personal captioning to smart devices, for The Kennedy Center’s on-request access programs; open captioning, for The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte that houses 1800 seats; and digital captioning in the new virtual era. c2 partners with TDF both for their open captioning sponsorship on Broadway, and for the National OC Initiative, a program which introduces open captioning at new theatres in new markets. In addition to the distinction of being first to caption live theatre, at Paper Mill Playhouse; and then on Broadway, c2 was first to showcase captioning at every public performance, by Wheelock Theatre; to provide captioning in a statewide initiative, for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance; and to caption every performance of a national tour, “Marlee Matlin's Nobody's Perfect” as well as the entire run of NY Theatre Workshop’s “Light Shining in Buckinghamshire” directed by Tony Winner Rachel Chavkin. David is the 2019 recipient of the Kennedy Center LEAD Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership. 

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Public Theater - A Case Study on Virtual Accessibility
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