On a sport court marked with tactile tape, a Goalball athlete’s body stretches long, toes pointed, attempting to block a blue ball from passing by her to the goal, the goalie crouching about two and a half feet behind her feet.
Goalball at the National Foundation for the Blind Washington State Convention

One of the places where I feel at home is working with Colleen Connor at Audio Description Training Retreats. In April, I’ll be moderating The Fundamentals of Audio Description, a 3-day intensive training via Zoom with instructors Colleen Connor and Liz Gutman. This class includes:

  • A review of the complex rules of Audio Description
  • A history of description, issues, context, and future trends
  • Disability awareness, justice, and statistics of the primary audience
  • An overview of jobs in AD in live theater, film, and TV
  • A review of the complex rules of Audio Description

There is an emphasis on practice time—this is an art learned by doing, collaboration, feedback, and critique from leaders and fellow participants, and that is where my sense of home lives. Colleen and Liz create a rigorous and joyful environment, not the easiest thing to do! If you are interested in audio description, I couldn’t recommend ADTR more highly to get a taste of the work in an environment that will enrich you, whether or not you move forward with audio description as a part of your career path.

Home is where your colleague is

On the audio description front, Julie Gebron and I had the grand opportunity to learn about Goalball, a fantastic sport, at the beginning of the month. The game linked here is the 2020 Paralympic Games, the gold medal match, Turkey vs USA, which starts around 7 minutes into the video. Goalball is unique as the only paralympic sport that is not an adapted version of another sport, and it was created in 1946 and developed to help rehabilitate former WWII soldiers. How about adding something new to your 2024 Paris Paralympic Games repertoire? Paralympic Goalball. Julie and I were asked to audio-describe a Goalball event at Washington State School for the Blind, which was spectacular. An eclectic group of athletes participated, from experienced to first-time players, and wow, that space was what I think of as home. All participants shared, learned, played, and had a fantastic time — plus there was pizza for all. I have a massive thank you to give to Corey Grandstaff, The Washington State School for the Blind, and the National Foundation for the Blind Washington State Convention for the opportunity to describe that event!

Home is a space to stretch your wings

Working in this industry for as long as I have — my first job was a commercial at age ten — I am seen as a professional in my field, which can be a blessing and a curse. Working in spaces where a sense of home prevails, where curiosity is met with respect, and experimentation is met with patience is what I hope for myself and all my colleagues, no matter how long they’ve been working in the arts. Is it possible to create work environments where professionals have space to stretch their wings and experiment, or do hard deadlines abruptly wake us from that dream? How wonderful it is to be a part of the audio description world later in my career, where some of the expertise I have nurtured for forty years can be used in another forum where creating inclusive and diverse spaces is at the front. Continuing to take risks, learn, and grow is what I want to do — as the dazzling Mary Olivier has said — with this one wild and precious life!

Home is where the art is

Finally, I am thrilled to share that one of my artistic homes, Artists Rep, will reopen in May. Don’t miss Encore: A Festival of Staged Readings on May 21–24, or the gala on May 18, marking the theater’s return to 1515 SW Morrison. Tickets will be available for that event soon. Encore: A Festival of Stage Readings is a four-evening festival, a journey through the decades, showcasing the rich history and diverse talents that have defined Artists Rep. I’m working on the event titled Replays: An 80’s Flashback, with Allen Nause, Vana O’Brien, Alana Byington, Marilyn Stacey, and loads of other Artists Rep beauties!