Cinderella plays March 16 – 25, 2018
All performances open captioned
Friday, March 16 – 18, 2018 – ASL-Intepreted
Saturday, March 24, 2018 1:00 PM – Sensory-Friendly Performance
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 2017 7:00 PM – Audio Described
R.J. Grey Junior High School
NETG: Please introduce yourself. What is it you do at Open Door Theater?
SG: My name is Sam Gould and I am the President of the Board of Open Door Theater. However, as we are all volunteers at Open Door, I am a producer, grant writer, accessibility coordinator, public liaison, Make up person, backstage crew, recruitment coordinator, mediator, floor sweeper, etc.
NETG: How do you use your work to make the theatre community a better place for all?
SG: Open Door Theater of Acton is a non-profit, family-oriented, accessible community theater company that has been creating learning experiences through theater for adults, children, and people with special needs since it was founded in 1980. The Open Door philosophy is that when you offer a positive theater experience, with this mix of people, they learn a lot about themselves and how to get along with each other. For many, the experience of being involved in an Open Door production is life-changing as they develop confidence, feel support, and find their voice on the stage. Our casts are special and different. We cast whole families of actors – children and their parents – in our shows, with a specific goal to include people with special needs. It is this family environment and diversity of cast that we most cherish and seek to promote. Our productions are open to everyone age 9 and older by audition. We do not charge any participation fees. We rely solely on ticket revenue and charitable donations to fund our mission. Not only are our casts diverse, but our audience is as well. We provide a Sensory/Autism Friendly Performance (AFP), performances interpreted by American Sign Language interpreters, and an audio described headphone-narrated performance and all of our performances are open captioned using integrated projections. Our goal is to make our theater as inclusive as possible.
Open Door Theater values and includes people of all nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, abilities, races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations in everything we do on stage and off. We welcome the unique insights, perspectives and feedback of all our participants to fulfill our mission and believe that the more diverse our community, the more learning opportunities created. This year’s production of Cinderella features an integrated cast of 85 and a crew of about 150, about 35% of our participants self identify as having special needs, including Deaf actors in the lead roles of Prince Topher, Gabrielle the Stepsister and an Actor on the Autism Spectrum playing Lord Pinkelton.
NETG: What message do you hope to communicate to your audiences through creating theatre?
SG: We envision and embrace a diverse community which enables access to theater for all on both sides of the curtain through mentorship and communal problem solving. We strive to create a family environment in which cast and crew can reach their goals and we share our experiences and expertise with other organizations so that we can all become more inclusive and accessible.
NETG: What are your thoughts on President Trump’s potential dismantling of the NEA?
SG: The NEA is a vital resource in continuing cultural enrichment, collaboration and cross cultural communication and must be preserved as a critical path in promoting information exchange through the arts in a time where tolerance and cultural understanding matters most.
NETG: What would you like to communicate, if anything, to the New England/Massachusetts area theatre critic and reviewing community?
SG: Non-traditional casting and universal design principles to increase access not only increases equity for actors and patrons but also enhances productions. We do not compromise the quality of our production values by increasing our access. Rather our top notch sets, costuming, tech, acting and music are amplified by the seamless integration of our differently-abled cast and crew.
We at the New England wish to make theatre accessible to all. Thank you Sam Gould and Open Door Theatre for sharing your work with us!