City Theatre Leads Pgh Arts Community to Add’l Accessibility

posted by Christa Boggs, Education Intern
On Monday February 7, City Theatre hosted an Accessibility & Open Captioning Workshop to give the Pittsburgh Arts Community an opportunity to gain insight on how to better serve customers with various disabilities. Amaryllis Theatre Artistic Director/VSA PA Executive Director Mimi Kenney Smith and Amaryllis Theatre Accessibility Coordinator Jessica Simkins were here to share stories of how Amaryllis took their accessibility programming to the next level.

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council was also on hand to share a new initiative, Increasing Accessibility in Pittsburgh Arts and Culture Organizations, a one-year pilot program funded by a generous grant from the FISA Foundation.

Mimi Kenny Smith presents on best customer service practices when working with accessibility.

During the first part of the afternoon, Ms. Smith shared “Tips of Customer Service for People with Disabilities and Seniors.” We were honored to have Tom Galante, a patron who is blind, and Lisa Fisher, a patron who is Deaf, on hand to share their thoughts about what we can do to better understand and respect their needs. Both were generous in answering questions and sharing general feedback. Lisa has been able to attend both Open Captioning performances that City Theatre has held thus far and gave wonderful feedback about the system.

Lisa Fisher, a member of Pittsburgh’s Deaf community, shares her experience with accessibility programs at arts organizations.

In the late afternoon session, Ms. Simkins gave training on the Open Captioning system. We learned how to transcribe a script into the OC system and how to set up and take down the operating system.

Jessica Simkins demonstrates the open captioning LED screen provided to City Theatre by VSA Pennsylvania.

By seeing how simple it is to use the Open Captioning equipment, City Theatre and VSA PA hope that the arts community in Pittsburgh will take the time to extend this programming to their audiences as well. You can borrow the equipment from City Theatre by contacting Kristen Link, Education Director at, and asking for an Open Captioning request form.

Remaining Open Captioned performances at City Theatre for 2011 are:  

Precious Little – March 27
The Amish Project – May 1
Louder Faster – May 29

Tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 412.431.CITY (2489) or e-mailing Box Office Manager Charles Buchanan at Please indicate that you are reserving for the Open Captioned performance and indicate if you have any special seating needs (wheelchair accessible seating, service animal, etc.).

For Information about Amaryllis Theatre please visit:

For information about VSA PA please visit:  Http://


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