Accessibility

General Accessibility Information for Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is committed to providing equal access to Free Shakespeare on the Common through its access and inclusion program.  Our staff is equipped to assist patrons of all abilities.  A limited number of tall chairs, accessible seating areas, and assisted listening devices, are available at each performance by visiting the Information Booth.

This page will be updated with current information as it becomes available per production. Anyone needing special accommodations is encouraged to contact CSC in advance at 617-426-0863 or email us at audienceservices@commshakes.org.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is a Universal Participation Initiative designated organization through the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

We are proud to participate in the Card to Culture program, a collaboration between Mass Cultural Council and the Department of Transitional AssistanceMassachusetts Health Connector, and Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, by breaking down financial barriers to cultural programming.

Our Services
  • American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreted Performances
  • Audio Described Performances
  • Assisted Listening Devices
  • Large Print and Braille Programs
  • Open Captioning

Accessible Seating for wheelchairs or for those with mobility-related accommodations and their companions are reserved in several free seating locations around the Common.

Accessible seating is also available in CSC’s Friend Section for a minimum donation of $100.

Assisted Listening Devices are available at each performance. Visit the Information Booth to obtain equipment.

Accessibility Performances

Accessibility Performance dates for all of our performances can be found on the performance page for each production.

For The Winter’s Tale:

ASL Interpretation: Sunday, July 21, 2024

Audio Description, ASL Interpretation, and Touch Tour: Saturday, July 27, 2024

Audio Description and Touch Tour: Saturday, August 3, 2024

Rain Date for All Access Services: Sunday, August 4, 2024

Touch Tours will be offered at 6:15pm on July 27 and August 3. Please meet at our front gate to House Left of the Stage,

All performances of The Winter’s Tale will be open captioned.

For more information about accessibility, please email audienceservices@commshakes.org

Information about pre-show description:
Please arrive at the theater half an hour before the official curtain time to hear the pre-show audio description.  Pre-show descriptions are packed with details which describers don’t have time to explain once the curtain goes up.  These details include descriptions of sets, props, characters, the actors playing them, and their costumes.  They can also establish a shorthand vocabulary for what describers will call certain characters or areas of the set and will explain the stylistic conventions of the show.  In short, pre-show descriptions can greatly enhance the audio description user’s experience of live theater.

Audio Description of Boston Common and Wayfinding Description:

Full Pre-Show Audio Description, Audio Meet the Cast, and Access Team Information Coming Soon.

The optimal location for drop off/pick up for car services is:
The Pope John Paul II Marker on Charles Street.
Parking

Accessible parking is available at the Boston Common Garage.

MBTA

The Park Street MBTA Station (Red Line/Green Line) has an elevator up to street level.

Restrooms

There is an accessible restroom to the back-left of the stage and near the tennis courts.

Videos

Click below to view a video about transportation options

Wayfinding Description


From a bird’s-eye view, Boston Common is a 5-sided park, with a spider web of pathways extending from the Parkman Bandstand just below its center. Its five sides are:

  • Beacon Street, along the top, which meets Park Street at the Massachusetts State House in the top-right corner.
  • Park Street is the shortest side, and runs at a slight outward angle to the right, ending at Park Street T Station.
  • From here, Tremont Street cuts downward and slightly to the left, to the Boylston Street T Station, near the AMC movie theatre.
  • Boylston Street itself runs along the bottom of the Common…
  • meeting up with Charles Street, which runs back upward and slightly to the left, to meet Beacon Street and complete the outline.

Shakespeare on the Common is presented near the Parkman Bandstand, a stately circular structure with tall pillars and a domed roof. If you think of this area as a clock, the bandstand is behind you at 6:00, the stage is at 12:00, and audience seating fills the whole clock FACE and is bisected by a pathway. Park Street and Park Street Station are off in the distance, beyond 3:00, while the Front of House Trailer is at about 11:00. This is where you can pick up your audio description receivers and headsets.

Seats above the bisecting path (closer to the stage and Beacon Street beyond) are cordoned off and filled with lawn chairs. Seating for folks using access services has been reserved at the center of this section, in front of the stage.

Open, public seating begins below the path and extends out in all directions. People sit on blankets and lawn chairs, many enjoying picnics. The Earl of Sandwich kiosk is at 9:00, while Port-a-potties are directly behind the bandstand, near the tennis courts (again at 8:00).

The audio description broadcasting tent, where we describers are sitting, is just in front of the bandstand, at about 12:00.

For Locations of our Merch Booth, Front of House Booth, and Stage, see this Google Map.

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