Lions Club International will team up with CNY Arts Center to sponsor the May 4th performance of “Helen Keller,” a new stage adaptation of the classic story.
The play opens April 26 at 8 p.m. and runs through May 5 at CNY Arts Center, which is located in the State St. Methodist Church in Fulton.
Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880, Helen Keller developed a fever at 18 months of age that left her blind and deaf.
With the help of an exceptional teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan of the Perkins School for the Blind, Helen learned sign language and braille.
A few years later, she learned to speak.
As an adult, she became a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. And in 1925, she attended the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”
In a speech delivered June 30, 1925 at the International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, Keller sought help for the American Foundation for the Blind, which was in its infancy at the time.
Considering her early days as a child without sight, sound or verbal communication, she spoke before the international assembly of Lions Club members with eloquence and ease.
Her appeal asked the members to pretend what it felt like to be blind.
Helen challenged the Lions to foster and sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind. The Lions accepted her challenge and its work ever since has included sight programs aimed at preventable blindness.
Those efforts will now sponsor a performance of the new “Helen Keller” production, which will be the CNY Arts Center’s third mainstage production since moving into their new facility located in State St. Methodist Church at 357 State St. in Fulton.
Eyeglass collection boxes will be available at the May 4th performance along with information about the Lions Club International and all the philanthropic work the group does.
“Helen Keller” opens April 26 at 8 p.m. and continues April 27, May 3 and May 4 at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees April 28 and May 5 at 2 p.m.
Those seeking more information about the production may visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.