Grant brings assistive listening devices to Strand

Apr 17, 2017
Strand Executive Director Jessie Davis, right, receives a check from Bangor Savings Bank Branch Manager Corey Belcher.

Rockland — The Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., recently received a grant award of $2,000 from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation to help the theater purchase assistive listening devices.

Visual-impairment assist technology provides audio description, transmitted to users through infrared wireless headsets. This enables 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.

The technology upgrade is in response to a recent Justice Department proposal to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act to require movie theaters to provide closed movie captioning and audio description in order to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to movies. The proposed ADA requirements allow for exemptions from compliance based on theater size and annual income, under which category the Strand Theatre would fall. However, Executive Director Jessie Davis wants the Strand to meet those new standards.

“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,” Davis said.

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.

“Our audience is aligned with this statewide trend, so we will only see the need for closed captioning and visual-impairment assist technology grow,” Davis said. “It is important that the Strand be a place of inclusivity within the community, which is why this accessibility project is a priority for our organization.”

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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