CRE Theatre was established in 2003 to provide performing arts programs and performances to Los Angeles community centers and schools. Founder Greg Shane, who is blind in his right eye, simultaneously volunteered for “Changing Perceptions” – a program for visually impaired individuals at the Braille Institute. When the Program Director suddenly passed away from cancer, Shane knew that the work was too important to disappear with her. In 2007, the organization was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit under the new name of CRE Outreach with the goal of continuing her mission and “Transforming Lives…One Show at a Time.” Since incorporating, CRE Outreach has expanded to reach an array of underserved populations and communities in Greater Los Angeles, but Theatre by the Blind remains our signature program.
Theatre by the Blind, the country’s only theatre troupe composed entirely of blind actors, helps blind and visually impaired individuals become self-sufficient using theatre-based programs and original performances to help them to successfully navigate through today’s society. Theatre by the Blind provides participants with a constructive and creative forum to confront their challenges while informing the public, raising awareness, and changing perceptions about the capabilities of the blind. These remarkable individuals create and perform original theatrical works that empower and inspire program participants and audiences alike.
Partnering with the Braille Institutes of Los Angeles and Carson, as well as the Junior Blind of America, we provide opportunities for participants to use creative expression to re-imagine the narratives of their own lives, while using performance techniques to promote social skills, independence, mobility, and confidence that translate into increased quality of life.
Each new program lasts approximately 6 months from start to finish. Participants meet twice a week for 3 – 4 hours at a time in order to conceive the story and their characters, learn their lines, and rehearse the show. Scripts can be translated and printed into Braille, but often the actors choose to tape-record their lines to practice at home. During rehearsals, a series of soft floor mats are pieced together to create a map of the stage that aids the actors in navigating the stage layout and memorizing the location of different set pieces. After months of rehearsal each show culminates with 2 – 3 weeks of performances at a local theatre for the public at large.