At the Circus of the Senses, Deaf and Blind Children Get the Show of a Lifetime
"The whole purpose of today is to bring the joy of the show to those who could not appreciate it in any other way." Liz Lewis, the Program Director of the Big Apple Circus' Circus of the Senses, is explaining why a show like the Circus of the Senses needs to exist. And we couldn't agree more!
Going to the circus has been a milestone for young kids across the world for hundreds of years. Throughout most of that time, there were some children who were not taken into consideration by those who designed the shows, such as blind and deaf children or kids with cognitive impairments. But as the movement to increase accessibility to all the world has to offer has gained traction over the past several decades, this has begun to change.
Circus of the Senses was created 20 years ago specifically for children of varying visual, hearing, and cognitive abilities. The show is staffed with who Liz calls "talented describers" (who provide enhanced audio) and American Sign Language interpreters, among other specially designed features to bring the magic of the circus to life.
John Kenney Kane, the Ringmaster, is somewhat visually impaired, so he senses the meaningful connection between the actors and the audience: "As performers, we think we're doing something nice for the audience; in this one, they do something nice for us. It's so rewarding."