ONE in six people are unable to enjoy the arts because they are deaf or hard of hearing.
But thanks to a generous donation by a private family trust, the Manx Deaf Society was able to buy portable captioning (subtitling) equipment for permanent use in the island’s theatres as part of last year’s Disability Awareness Week.
Now the equipment, which enables the spoken word to be converted into visible text, is to be made available at four shows at the Gaiety Theatre over the summer.
The first production to use the equipment will be John Buchan’s The 39 Steps (see page 19) which runs between June 14 and 16.
This blissfully funny show, by In Yer Space Theatre Company, follows the incredible adventures of handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho attitude and pencil moustache, as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women. The wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.
Captioning will be available during the Saturday night show at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £16.50. Concessions are available.
The equipment will then be available during the Saturday matinee performance of John Godber’s April in Paris which runs on July 13 and 14.
Here, the Legion Players present Bet and Al who lead a quiet, humdrum life in their small Yorkshire home until Bet wins a romantic break competition in a magazine.
The prize, a holiday in Paris, represents their first experience abroad and has profound effects on the way they look at the world around them once they return home.
They sort out French cuisine, wrestle with their phrase book and fend off would-be muggers on the Metro in this hilarious depiction of the English abroad.
Tickets cost £12. Concessions are available.
Then in August, those with hearing troubles can enjoy Evita, performed by Taylorian Productions.
This well-known musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice concentrates on the life of Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón.
The story follows Evita’s early life, rise to power, charity work and eventual death, and features such well known classics as Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.
The show runs between August 4 and 18, and the captioning equipment will be available at the 2.30pm matinee performance on Saturday, August 11.
Tickets cost £20. Concessions are available.
Finally, the equipment will be available during Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls, at the 2.30pm matinee performance on Saturday, September 8.
The show, which is produced by In Yer Space Theatre Company and runs between September 6 and 8, tells the story of a group of ordinary women who do something extraordinary and spark a global phenomenon when they persuade one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference. Based on an inspiring true story, Calendar Girls is quirky, poignant and hilarious.
Tickets cost £16.50. Concessions are available.
For seats especially designated to those who are deaf or hard of hearing call the box office on 600555.