Legacy donation helps theatre ‘to improve accessibility for everyone’

The Friends of Marina Theatre in Lowestoft with Emma Butler Smith, Marina Theatre chief executive. P

The Friends of Marina Theatre in Lowestoft with Emma Butler Smith, Marina Theatre chief executive. Picture: Marina Theatre. - Credit: Archant

A theatre has installed a new hearing system ahead of the launch of its new season of shows.

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft has improved accessibilty for those with impaired hearing – thanks to a legacy donation from the former Friends of the Marina Theatre.

The state-of-the-art infra-red hearing system will be available for public use from next week, with the theatre's new season of shows to be announced with the release of the Spring/Summer brochure in April.

The new system works by converting audio sources into infra-red light pulses which are radiated into the room.

The infra-red light signals are picked up via body-packs worn by the user, and are then converted back into an audio signal which can be listened to with headphones that are plugged into the body pack.

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Marina Theatre technical manager, Karl Dunnett, said: 'The system should provide outstanding audio to the entire auditorium without noise interference.

'We currently have up to 10 body packs available, but the system is usable with any infra-red body packs capable of receiving on the carrier frequency of 2.3MHz.

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'The body packs have a large easy to access volume control and a balance control. Headphones can be provided by the wearer, or purchased from the kiosk at the Marina Theatre.'

Marina Theatre chief executive, Emma Butler Smith, said: 'The Marina Theatre is committed to providing an enjoyable, high quality theatre experience for all patrons. We are always looking for ways to improve accessibility for everyone.

'Our plans for the future include securing funding for the installation of a lift, and various other modifications to the building, which will mean that we can expand our offering to our audiences.'

The new hearing system was made possible by the legacy donation.

A spokesman for the group, Mike Holroyd, said: 'The Friends are delighted that the theatre has developed into a thriving centre of cultural excellence focused on the entire community and with a wide variety of offers.

'The legacy donation of £8,300 is being used to extend the facilities – allowing the theatre to reach out to the community, embracing young and old.'

The new hearing system will be available for public use from Friday, March 1, just in time for comedian Robert White's visit to the Marina Theatre.

For tickets or more information, please call the box office on 01502 533200 or visit www.marinatheatre.co.uk

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