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ENTERTAINMENT

Cayuga County movie theater adds accessibility devices

Movieplex

Customers line up at the entrance to the Auburn Movieplex in 2014.

The Auburn Movieplex 10 in Sennett has added accessibility devices for people with sensory disabilities.

Assistant Manager Taylor Green said Monday that about two weeks ago, the theater acquired 20 to 30 closed captioning, assistive listening and audio description devices. 

The closed captioning devices display the dialogue of a movie on a tiny screen for people who are deaf. It isn't bright enough to distract other viewers, Green said. The assistive listening devices amplify audio for people with hearing impairments. And the audio description devices provide narration of what's happening on-screen for people who are blind or visually impaired. 

Moviegoers with sensory disabilities can request the devices at the Sennett theater's counter. Green said they will be asked to leave an item of theirs with the theater, such as ID or car keys, as insurance due to the high cost of the devices. They will get the item back when they return the device. Green added that the devices have been used twice so far.

Green said that Rochester Theater Management, which also owns theaters in Brockport, Canandaigua and Geneseo, purchased the accessibility devices after both requests from its patrons and the passage of a law requiring them. The law is an amendment to the American Disabilities Act that took effect in January 2017 and required compliance by June 2.

However, theaters do not need to comply with the law if they can claim that acquiring the devices presents an "undue burden or a fundamental alteration." It's for that reason that Track Cinema, the other multiplex theater in Cayuga County, has yet to add them. Speaking to Susan Gray for a guest column that The Citizen published in December, Track owners Randall and Tracy Currier, of Romulus, said that purchasing the devices and setting them up would cost the four-screen theater about $10,000. The Curriers did not respond to a recent request for comment.

Monday, Gray expressed gratitude to the Movieplex for acquiring the devices. Gray, who is blind, said she used to have her husband describe movies to her in a whisper, which would distract not only him but other patrons. But now, she and thousands of others in Cayuga County have a theater that offers them a full moviegoing experience. As a member of the board of directors of Aurora of Central New York, which promotes the interests of people with visual and hearing impairments, Gray also knows several others with sensory disabilities who will go to the Sennett theater, she said.

"They did the right thing," she said. "It's a real gift."

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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