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Theater Breaking Through Barriers

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Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) is an inclusive theater based in New York , New York that strives develop the talents of individuals with disabilities for work onstage, backstage, in the office and in the audience.[1] TBTB began as Theater By the Blind in 1979 as sighted actors recording plays for the blind. The theater then moved to performances for the blind and then blind performances for the sighted.[2]

Crystal Clear

"Crystal Clear" by Phil Young opened in 1986 at the Long Wharf Theater's Stage II. The show starred George Ashiotis and Lucia Puccia who played a young actor who is gradually going blind from Diabetes and his girlfriend who has been blind from birth. "Crystal Clear" began as an improvisation on a London pub stage in 1982.

The production had mixed reviews from critics. Mel Gusso said for The New York Times, "It is diagnostic rather than psychologically probing." [3] Another critic said the play was "a wildly unfocused work that tries to cover too vast a terrain" and that it contained "a cornucopia of cliches".[4].

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare which opened at the Barrow Group Theater was the first play by Theater By the Blind that featured a character in a wheelchair. A note in the theater program said, "Increasingly we feel we must include all disabled people in our work."[5] In early 2008, the company changed its name the Theater Breaking Through Barriers to better reflect the company's more inclusive nature.[6]


  1. Theater Breaking Through Barriers:An Introduction. Theater Breaking Through Barriers. 2007. Accessed on February 19, 2008.
  2. New York Day by Day: Explaining Blindness Heller Anderson, Susan and David W. Dunlap. The New York Times Company, 1985-07-25. Accessed 2008-02-19.
  3. Crystal Clear at the LongwarfGusso, Mel. The New York Times, 1986-01-09. Accessed 2008-02-19
  4. Sentimental Theme Lacking in Impact Klein, Alvin. The New York Times, 1986-01-05. Accessed 2008-02-19
  5. Actors Who See With More Than Their Eyes Genzlinger, Neil. The New York Times, 2007-02-06. Accessed 2008-02-19.
  6. Theater by the Blind Changes Name Horwitz, Simi. Nielsen Business Media, 2008-02-24. Accessed 2008-02-19