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Acton theater opens the door to anyone who wants to be involved

Acton's Open Door Theater "centers the disability perspective"
Acton's Open Door Theater "centers the disability perspective" 03:39

ACTON - A non-profit theater in Acton is opening the door to anyone who wants to be involved. For more than four decades, Open Door Theater has been creating art, featuring people with and without disabilities, both on stage and behind the scenes.

President Sam Gould said, "Everything we do here is centering the disability perspective. So, we don't make accommodations for people. We ask them what accommodations they need, and then we build them in to make it just easier to participate in the show."

Nala J. Wu, who started as an actor with Open Door, is now on the board, in charge of scenic design and make-up for the upcoming production of "The Wizard of Oz."

"When I talk to my friends who have autistic kids, I can say you can come here. Every show is sensory friendly. It's not just like one day that's designated," Wu said. "But every show is going to be sensory friendly."

Director of Artistic Sign Language Kristin Johnson works with ASL interpreters throughout the production, to make sure the script is properly translated into ASL for the Deaf audience.

Sometimes, that requires some creativity, like when it came time to create the sign for The Wicked Witch of the West.

"Now the Wicked Witch of the West is not represented an American Sign Language with three individual lexical signs. We've combined the concept of the Wicked Witch of the West in one sign articulation," Johnson said. "And that's why we call this an artistic sign language and that's why the director artistic sign language because we're keeping integrity to some of the concepts in the script."

The theater is open to everyone nine and older.

"They're definitely setting a standard that I think hopefully other theaters in Massachusetts and around the country and world hopefully can rise to that standard," Wu said.

And Gould says, "When you come to our theater, you won't see the accommodations that we're putting in and you won't see a stage full of people with disabilities. What you'll see is incredible production values."

"The Wizard of Oz," at the Open Door Theater opens Friday March 15th at RJ Grey Junior High School in Acton.

Shows run through March 24th and tickets are just $15.

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