The Rose Theatre, along with the Rosebud Cinema and Starlight Room, in Port Townsend has been updated with devices for people with limited sight and hearing. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

The Rose Theatre, along with the Rosebud Cinema and Starlight Room, in Port Townsend has been updated with devices for people with limited sight and hearing. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend theater adds devices for hearing-, vision-impaired

PORT TOWNSEND — The historic Rose Theatre in Port Townsend is now equipped with devices to assist the hearing- and vision-impaired, bringing the two theaters up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“There’s a very active community that’s been asking that we do this,” said Rocky Friedman, owner of the theater at 235 Taylor St.

The new assisted-listening and closed-captioning devices are in place at the theater, something that isn’t quite so easy in historic buildings, according to Friedman.

“This took us a long time,” said Friedman, “partially because we have an old style of seat that doesn’t have cup holders.”

The closed-captioning devices are meant to fit into a standard movie theater cup holder, but with no cup holders, Friedman said it was necessary to drill a brass holder specifically for the devices into every seat in the theater.

“It’s so unique that the company who makes these asked us to send them a photo,” Friedman said. “They want to see how we made these old seats work with new technology.”

In addition to the Rose Theatre, the devices are available for the Starlight Room and Rosebud Cinema at the same address and include headsets that provide both enhanced audio and a narrative feature called audio description, according to a news release from Friedman.

These features allow those with limited vision or hearing to get the full movie experience, he said.

Theatergoers can request a device from the concession counters in the Rose and Rosebud theaters and at an individual stand in the Starlight Room.

Friedman said staff can show patrons how to work the devices. An instructional video will be put on the theater’s website, rosetheatre.com, at a later date.

Friedman said he also is updating the theater’s advertising in print and online so patrons can see which films will be enabled with audio description and/or closed captioning.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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