PORT TOWNSEND — Key City Public Theatre is incorporating American Sign Language into the final show of its latest production, “The People Downstairs,” by Natalie Symons.
The Sunday 1:30 p.m. matinee at the theater, at 419 Washington St. in Port Townsend, includes a pay-what-you-wish sliding scale price option for those seeking to utilize the ASL service.
“We’ve been working to make our shows more accessible for a number of years,” said Denise Winter, artistic director for Key City Public Theatre.
“One of our resident actors for the show, Maude Eisele, teaches ASL for the Sunfield Education Association with students ranging from early childhood to grade school.”
Winter said this connection helped in coordinating with Eisele to find interpreters who could help with this specific performance. In the community, they found two interpreters who were excited to step up to the task for live theatre interpretation, bringing along years of experience at a variety of venues and programs.
“We want to open new opportunities for more members of our community to enjoy live theatre,” Winter said. “The goal is to have this service available at all mainstage shows.
“This is a first step.”
Performances of “The People Downstairs,” described as “a dark but sweet comedy about loneliness and loss, laughter and love, and the need to be seen — with kindness,” are set for 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday.
The script won the Broadway World Regional Award for Best Original Script of the Decade.
It is rated PG-13 for some strong language, mental illness, adult themes, end of life issues and guardianship.
Directed by Brendan Chambers, it features Heather Dudley-Nollette, Eisele, Brace Evans and Allen Fitzpatrick.
Winter, in her last 30 years of working in professional theatres across the U.S., has experience working with ASL interpreters for productions.
In addition to this special performance of the show, Key City’s recent remodel has increased the number of accessible seating options and accommodations — including more options for patrons with wheelchairs and walkers.
Art 4 All is KCPT’s initiative that seeks to also lift financial barriers to better serve the community, with pay-what-you-wish admissions, free student tickets and discounts for community partners.
Funding from the City of Port Townsend and gifts from individuals help make these access programs possible.
For more information and tickets, see KeyCityPublic Theatre.org, email box office@keycitypublic theatre.org, or go in person during box office hours from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.