Listen Technologies Helps High School Student Participate in ‘Anastasia’ Production
In a really cool application or ProAV technology, Listen Technologies’ Listen EVERYWHERE system helped a high school student with hearing loss participate more fully in his school’s musical theater production of Anastasia.
Fremont High School (Plain City, Utah) Senior Hayden Reeve has a cochlear implant and utilizes an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, but that was not enough to help him keep track of lines, songs, and other stage cues. For previous productions at other schools, Reeve would resign to signing just one musical piece because it was too difficult to keep up with everything happening on and off the stage.
Paco Aguilar, a manufacturer’s representative and former Broadway sound engineer who consulted with Reeve’s teachers at Fremont High School, suggested the Listen EVERYWHERE assistive listening system to assist Reeve in participating more fully in productions. Listen EVERYWHERE streams live or recorded venue audio over Wi-Fi to smartphones.
Happy to “Feel Included”
Aguilar set up a two-channel Listen EVERYWHERE server backstage and connected the mic source. Reeve downloaded the Listen EVERYWHERE app on his smartphone to access the streamed audio from the same mic source.
In early rehearsals, the mic source was usually the director or whoever was leading the rehearsal and giving students direction. As the show’s opening date approached, the mic source connected to the main characters so Reeve could follow along and get his stage cues. Reeve carried his phone in a chest pocket on a t-shirt he wore under his costume. A Listen EVERYWHERE neck loop under Reeve’s costume plugged into his smartphone and transmitted sound to his cochlear implant.
Reeve could hear well enough that he performed multiple parts (comrade, peasant, Russian person, reporter, and member of the Secret Royal Guard) in the technical production. He also signed in ASL for the group songs.
“Before I came to Fremont High School, I really couldn’t hear music that well. It wasn’t easy to provide ASL to the musical numbers at my other school because I couldn’t hear the words over the music,” said Reeve. Listen EVERYWHERE helped Reeve overcome those listening challenges and fully engage in the performance. “I’ve been so happy to be able to participate more and feel included in the production.”
Engaging the Audience
With Listen EVERYWHERE, Reeve could hear what was happening throughout the musical, letting him fully participate and add his talents to the production. The school even hosted a “hard of hearing and deaf” performance with an ASL interpreter. Reeve invited his deaf community, family, and friends and had his own cheering section that night.
“We’re thrilled that Listen EVERYWHERE made it possible for Hayden to share his talents and participate fully in his school’s production of Anastasia, and more importantly, that he felt included with the entire cast, crew, and orchestra,” said Maile Keone, president and CEO of Listen Technologies. “At Listen Technologies, we’re inspired by stories like Hayden’s and continue to design and innovate solutions that foster inclusion and enable clear communication, so more people connect and engage.”