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Read more tips — from a blind scientist!

One of the most difficult things about performing if you're blind is finding your way around the stage safely and confidently.

George Ashiotis, who started losing his vision due to retinitis pigmentosa at age 5 and is now completely blind, shares tips that he has used in his work as a professional theater and film actor.

Key Theater Terms

Tips for Blind Actors

If you are a blind actor playing a sighted character, these tips will give you the confidence to move with grace and ease on stage.

A Message from George Ashiotis

My name is George Ashiotis and I am a blind actor. Do you ever wonder what it takes to be an actor? How one can read lines and transform themselves into both beloved and unfamiliar characters? How do blind people enjoy movies and the theater? With audio description, more and more blind people can experience movies and plays. BUT, not only can we watch them, we can also star in them!

From an early age, I loved to entertain. I was often found singing and performing in talent shows I hosted in my Astoria, Queens neighborhood. It was clear to me as I got older that my passion wasn't fading, and that a career in acting had chosen me, rather than my choosing it.

I began to lose my vision when I was five years old from retinitis pigmentosa. When I learned braille as a teen, it was liberating! For the first time, I was able to read a script and interpret the character in my own voice. Braille allows me to use my own imagination and creativity to become whoever I wanted to be on stage.

Good luck to all you budding actors out there — I hope you follow your dreams!

This activity was created by George Ashiotis for Great Expectations.

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Character

How do you make the character you are playing come to life? Ask yourself these questions:
  • What does my character like?
  • What upsets my character?
  • How does my character feel about the others in the play?
  • Is my character a shy person?
  • Does my character speak with an accent?

Disney Movies Anywhere App

Image from Finding Dory

Every Pixar movie is now available with mobile audio description from Disney! Learn how to use this exciting app.

Read About George's Performance in "Oedipus"

Read a review of the play, "Oedipus," performed by George Ashiotis and the Theater by the Blind (now named Theater Breaking Through Barriers).

George Ashiotis acting in Oedipus
George Ashiotis and Melanie Boland in "Oedipus"

Theater Breaking Through Barriers

George Ashiotis and company in the Cocktail Hour in 2008
George Ashiotis and company in A. R. Gurney's "The Cocktail Hour" in 2008

"Theater by the Blind" is now called Theater Breaking Through Barriers. TBTB is the only Off-Broadway theater, and one of the few professional theaters in the country, dedicated to advancing actors and writers with disabilities and changing the image of people with disabilities from dependence to independence. Over 37 years ago, the theater group started as Theater by the Blind, integrating able-bodied, low vision, and blind actors and writers. In 2008 they expanded their mission to include artists with all physical disabilities.

Read much more about TBTB here.
photo of George Ashiotis
George Ashiotis

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