STRAND spotlight

The Strand Theatre has installed closed captioning and visual-impairment assist technology in its auditorium to allow patrons that are deaf or hard of hearing, or are blind or have low vision, an opportunity to experience a wide array of film events presented at the Strand.

Purchase of the equipment was made possible with grant funds received from Fisher Charitable and Bangor Savings Bank Foundations.

The installation of the equipment follows an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) amendment announced by the former administration’s Department of Justice that requires movie theaters to provide closed movie captioning and audio description in order to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to the programming on offer.

"This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with disabilities, to fully participate in the movie-going experience. With this proposal, the Justice Department is taking an important step to ensure consistent access for people with vision and hearing disabilities," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Closed movie captioning is the display of the written text of movie dialogue and other sounds delivered via individual captioning screens used by patrons at their seats, instead of being displayed to the entire audience on the main screen.

Visual-impairment assist technology provides audio description, transmitted to users through infrared wireless headsets, enabling individuals who are blind or have low vision to enjoy films by providing a spoken narration of key visual elements of a film, such as actions, settings, facial expressions, costumes, and scene changes. Audio description fills in information about the visual content of a movie where there are no corresponding audio elements in the film.

According to Strand Theatre Executive Director Jessie Davis, “While the proposed ADA requirements allow for exemptions from compliance based on theater size and annual income, under which category the Strand would fall, we believe that these technologies promote equity, human dignity, and fairness and it is essential for us to offer these enhancements in order to best serve all our current and future patrons.” It is estimated there are more than 53,000 visually/hearing-impaired adults living in Maine. In addition, Maine has the oldest population in the country.  “As our audience is aligned with this statewide trend, we will only see the need for closed captioning and visual-impairment assist technology grow. It is important that the Strand be a place of inclusivity within the community, which is why this accessibility project has been a priority for our organization,” Davis said.

Elinor Goldberg was the winner of a pass good for free movies for a year! Her name was drawn as part of our Summer Membership drive  -- all those who renewed or upgraded their Membership by the end of August were eligible. Congratulations Elinor!

Pictured with Elinor (right) is Strand Membership Coordinator Jessica Ripley.

The Strand reached its Summer Membership Drive goal of reaching the level of 1,000 Members by August 31. Anna Jennings of Rockland was recognized as the 1,000th person to join the Strand’s Membership program.

Anna was presented with a gift bag and warm thanks from Membership Coordinator Jessica Ripley and Theater Manager Liz McLeod. Anna shared a few stories about her first visits to the Strand in 2007, including one about a several-hour wait in the rain with two friends to be one of the first in line to buy season tickets for the Strand’s first-ever Metropolitan Opera Live-In-HD season.

According to Anna, she joined as a member to help ensure that the Strand will continue as a valuable resource to the community for years to come. “Oh, and the sound is award winning!”

The theater, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the  National Trust for Historic Preservation, became a nonprofit in January 2014 and is now operated by Friends of the Strand Theatre. The Strand’s Membership program was launched in April 2014. Memberships, as well as grants, sponsorships and fundraising efforts, help pay the operating expenses for the wide range of cultural and educational programming the theater presents.

Strand Membership Coordinator Jessica Ripley made an appearance, along with her daughter and a friend as gaint popcorn boxes. Our thanks to Hurricane Isalnd Outward Bound School, who provided the boat, truck and driver for our salty crew!

Friday, August 12 @ 5:30pm at the Strand Theatre

Co-presented with the Island Institute

Across the nation, fishermen and scientists are observing notable shifts in the ocean ecosystem and dramatic changes on the water. This series of four short films examines how the fishing industry is dealing with climate change, including warming waters, lack of biodiversity, and ocean acidification. The fourth film introduces shellfish aquaculture as an example of economic diversification for fishing communities.  The films take place in Maine, Alaska, and Florida, and were produced by the Island Institute’s Scott Sell.

Panel discussion to follow.

Tickets: $15/General Admission, $10/Island Institute Members, $5/Students


Folk-rock trio THE EDNA PROJECT will present a unique concert, “Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Poetry Set to Music” at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main Street, on Thursday, June 21 at 7pm. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Edna St.Vincent Millay Birthplace in Rockland.

THE EDNA PROJECT (wife and husband Liz Queler and Seth Farber, with son Joey Farber) are two-time grammy nominees perform an eclectic melding of folk, bluegrass, rock and jazz, presented with humor and outstanding harmonies. They have brought this performance to museums, libraries, clubs, concert halls and festivals, including Newport Folk and Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center). The concerts include projections of Millay, her home and artifacts, and her poems. The project was born when Liz, frustrated by writer’s block, opened a volume of Millay’s poetry and decided to compose music to the lyrics she read. Soon enthralled by the life and works of the unconventional, bohemian Millay (1892 - 1950) Liz immersed herself in Millay’s world and was inspired to create The Edna Project along with her husband Seth.

Hailed by Billboard Magazine as “a singer's singer”, Liz Queler (vocals/guitar/mandolin), a native New Yorker and the daughter of renowned opera conductor Eve Queler, has performed on esteemed stages from the Newport Folk Festival to Carnegie Hall. Her voice and compositions have been heard on countless jingles as well as TV and film soundtracks.

Seth Farber (keyboards/accordion/vocals) was musical director to the late, great Odetta for ten years, producing three CDs, two of which were nominated for Grammys. He was also assistant conductor at the Broadway musical "Hairspray" for it's 6 year run.

Joey Farber is fast amassing his own impressive credits, boasting 3 national jingles, an off Broadway show (Soul Doctor), and appearances on Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With David Letterman.

Both Liz and Seth currently tour with Grammy nominated children's rock band "Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could." Along with their son, Joey, they were featured on Rosie O'Donnell's HBO special "A Family is a Family Is A Family."

Proceeds from the performance will benefit the Rockland Historical Society’s project Saving A Literary Landmark - Restoring the Edna St. Vincent Millay Birthplace.

The mission of the Historical Society’s Millay House Committee: “To honor the life and preserve the legacy of the great American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the Millay House Committee of the Rockland Historical Society seeks to restore and share her birthplace at 198-200 Broadway in Rockland, Maine, and to foster a literary organization to perpetuate that legacy, and to promote creativity and heritage tourism in mid-coast Maine.”

Tickets: $20/General Admission.

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