Theatre, Bridges partner to present shadow-interpreted performance of The Miracle Worker

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In a move rarely seen in Nashville, Lipscomb Theatre will present a special shadow-interpreted performance of The Miracle Worker, for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Lipscomb’s Shamblin Theatre. The special event, which also features a dinner and panel discussion, is held in honor of September’s National Deaf Awareness Month and through a special in partnership with Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The Miracle Worker, which tells the classic story of Annie Sullivan and her blind and mute student Helen Keller, kicks-off Lipscomb University’s 2017-18-theatre season, Sept. 22 through Oct. 1. Show times include: Sept. 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. in Shamblin Theatre.

The Miracle Worker dramatizes the volatile relationship between the lonely teacher and her charge. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence.

Directed by Kari Smith, adjunct professor for Lipscomb Theatre, and produced by Beki Baker, chair of Lipscomb Theatre, the show features an all-student cast.

“The story of Helen Keller’s life is amazing, and I am in awe of her and the people who contributed to her success,” said Smith. “The Miracle Worker is about a defining moment in Helen’s early childhood that was truly a turning point: when Annie Sullivan came into her life and unlocked her full potential. This play is about believing in people and in yourself, even when you have lost all hope, and about the perseverance to overcome even the most tremendous of obstacles.”

“We’re excited to be able to merge artistry and accessibility with the shadow interpreted performance,” Baker added. “Few artists get the opportunity to participate in something like this, and our students are going to enter a whole new world of performing that gets them out of their typical comfort zone.”

Scott Baker, director of marketing for Lipscomb’s CEA and an American Sign Language consultant for the show, has served as a professional interpreter for the deaf for 20 years, and says audience members are in for a treat with this rare interpretation method.

“Typical interpreted performances involve the interpreters standing to one side of the stage and functioning almost like captions, but this production will be shadow interpreted, meaning the interpreters will be on stage with the actors following them around and providing a much more dynamic interpretation. This type of interpreting is rare, especially in Nashville,” he said.

“As we celebrate our 90th year of service, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is excited to partner with Lipscomb’s Department of Theatre to bring a special, shadow-interpreted performance of The Miracle Worker to the stage,” said Nancy Denning-Martin, executive Director at Bridges. “The extra dimension of interpretation, access and performance brings us—Deaf, Hard of Hearing and hearing—all together as one community completely immersed in the theatre experience and in the important story of Helen Keller. We’re thankful for Lipscomb’s willingness to create access and inclusion in celebration of Deaf Awareness Month.”

The special Sept. 23 performance will also feature a dinner and panel discussion where audience members will learn about the history of deaf and deaf-blind communities in the U.S., how things have changed since Helen Keller’s time and how much more work there is to do to achieve true equality.

The panel, dinner and ticket to the Sept. 23 show are available for $20 for adults, $17 for Lipscomb faculty, staff, alumni and military, as well as $15 for students. Tickets for all other shows are $15 for adults, $10 for faculty and staff and $5 for students. For tickets, contact Lipscomb’s Box Office at 615.966.7075. 

Lipscomb Theatre also offers two 2017-2018 season ticket packages: the Season Subscription and the Sampler Subscription. The Season Subscription includes tickets to four of the theatre season shows: The Miracle Worker, She Loves Me, On the Verge and Elevate. The package also entitles subscribers to discounted tickets to Ragtime at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and to Inherit the Wind at the Nashville Repertory Theatre, once they go on sale later this year. Prices for the Season Subscription includes: $45 for adults, $30 for Lipscomb faculty and staff, and $15 for students. The Sampler Subscription is a two-show ticket package for $25 for adults, $15 for faculty/staff and $8 for Lipscomb students.

Lipscomb University's Department of Theatre is committed to leading the future in arts education through rigorous training, interdisciplinary collaboration, and faith-focused community. On our stages, the next generations of citizen artists are cultivating the discipline and passion it takes to impact their communities and the world. To learn more about Lipscomb Theatre, located in the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, click here