Tag Archives: Helen Keller

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Lions Club to participate in production of ‘Helen Keller’

Annie finger-spells into Helen’s hand in this scene from “Helen Keller,” a new adaptation of the classic story. Annie is played by Taylor Hamer and Helen is portrayed by Sophie Greene. The play runs April 26 through May 5 at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St., Fulton.
Annie finger-spells into Helen’s hand in this scene from “Helen Keller,” a new adaptation of the classic story. Annie is played by Taylor Hamer and Helen is portrayed by Sophie Greene. The play runs April 26 through May 5 at CNY Arts Center, 357 State St., Fulton.

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.

CNY Arts Center auditions continue for ‘Helen Keller’

The search continues for actors to fill roles for CNY Arts Center’s production of “Helen Keller,” a new adaptation of the true story of Annie Sullivan’s work with the deaf/mute child, Helen.

The next round of auditions will be held today, Feb. 16 from 2 to 3 p.m. at CNY Arts Center’s new facility in State St. Methodist Church, 357 State St., Fulton.

Parts will be cast immediately after auditions and the first read through of the play will take place following the auditions.

The play runs April 26 through May 5.

A few roles for women and several children are still open, including a 7-9 year old girl to play the demanding title role as a deaf/mute child able to communicate only through her physical behavior.

The role of Captain Keller, Helen’s father; his older brother Frank, an embittered Civil War soldier; and Mr. Anagnos, director of the Perkins institute are roles also being cast.

“It’s like sorting the pieces of a puzzle to get just the right balance of characteristics, body types, stage presence, and acting strength coming together to create a cast,” said Nancy Fox, CNY Arts Center director. “When it fits together, the production makes a powerful impression on the audience.”

Those seeking audition information may visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call Fox at 592-3373.

CNY Arts Center to hold auditions for ‘Helen Keller’

CNY Arts Center will be holding auditions for “Helen Keller,” a new adaptation of the true story of Annie Sullivan’s work.

Auditions will be held Jan. 29 and 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Feb. 2 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at CNY Arts Center in State Street Methodist Church, 357 State St., Fulton.

Fifty years ago this year, Director Nancy Fox saw her first live stage play – a production of the “Miracle Worker,” the traditional portrayal of the Helen Keller story.

“From the opening moments of the play, I was mesmerized by the drama unfolding and I knew without a doubt I would pursue theatre as my life’s work,” said Fox. “Since then I have been consumed with a passion for theatre that never quiets and I promised myself I would someday honor that memory by directing the play.

“This new version is a perfect reflection of our new stage and the new Arts Center and I think the time is finally right for this challenging production.”

An exhaustive search will be conducted for a 7-9 year old girl to play the demanding title role as a deaf/mute child able to communicate only through her physical behavior.

The role of Anne Sullivan will require an energetic actress between 16-25 who can demonstrate or learn manual sign language. CNY Arts Center is also recruiting a sign language expert to consult on the play and interpret for performances to be held April 26-28 and May 3-5.

Other roles being cast include Helen’s parents, Captain and Mrs. Keller, and several supporting adult roles including the role of Helen’s grandmother, uncle, a family friend and household staff.

Roles for Staff members of Perkins Institute for the Blind are also being cast along with a few roles for Helen’s playmates.

Actors are asked to register for auditions by choosing a date and time to attend. A one minute dramatic monologue is recommended for adults and some reading from the script will take place.

Children should be ready to read a favorite story with great expression.

Sign language teachers interested in working on the production are invited to attend auditions may call the Arts Center office at 592-3373 or e-mail the director at info@CNYArtsCenter.com.