Synergy on Stage

ASL Artistry For The Entertainment Industry

Synergy on Stage

Learn more about us + the services we offer

Book Our Services

Book a team of interpreters for a play/concert in Metro-Detroit

E-Newsletter

Sign-up for our monthly newsletter

SEASON SCHEDULE

live performances 

COVID-19 IMPACT

stay healthy, stay safe

We have decided to limit our engagements during the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All theatres are working diligently to make sure everything is safe when the lights go back on for the audience, actors, crew, interpreters + production teams.

 

THE CURTAIN WILL RISE AGAIN

follow us on facebook, instagram, + twitter to get the details about our return to the theatre.

Synergy on Stage will keep an open dialogue with all of our frequent collaborators including Oakland University School of Music, Theatre + Dance, DYPAC, WLN Performing Arts and local large entertainment venues about the unknowns of our upcoming 2020-21 season.  We will keep everyone informed on socials + through our newsletter.

GET OUR NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! We promise not to bother you more than once every month.  Be the first to know about performances, workshops + more!

OUR SERVICES

Synergy Is Our Strategy

We provide teams of certified + experienced interpreters and expert ASL consultants to productions looking to reach out to Deaf audiences. We also work with venues when their event receives a request for accessibility. Synergy happens when we work together to provide language + artistic access to all audience members.

Performance Styles

We offer 3 different performance styles: shadow, zone + platform. Each is described below. What sets us apart is our preparation tactics - collaborating with Deaf ASL Consultants, interpreting + memorizing scripts/music prior to performance, in-depth script/character analysis, attending rehearsals (depending on style), and meeting within our team to address the productions criteria + needs of Deaf audience.

PERFORMANCE STYLE DESCRIPTIONS

shadow

artistic / emotional access

The SHADOW style of inclusion allows for the greatest amount of artistic + emotional access.  The ASL performers are costumed and FULLY INCLUDED in the actors world, blending both languages directly on the action for the most complete audience experience.  Deaf AND hearing audiences report this style to be the most entertaining and least intrusive.  By harmonizing the signing and speaking into one stage picture, the ASL performers are no longer seen as an appendage or distraction – instead become subtext of the script brought to life.  Hearing actors who have worked with our shadow performers overwhelmingly report the experience to be enriching, artistic enhancement to their work.

Footage of The Liar © Synergy on Stage + Oakland University School of Music, Theatre + Dance.

Our team of licensed/certified interpreters are equally experienced thespians + trained shadow performers.  We work with Deaf ASL consultants to ensure our interpretations are on point and logistics regarding Deaf audience members are addressed.  Whether a production is interested in providing one shadow performance or outfit the entire run, our rehearsal strategies are designed to compliment each productions needs.

Because the shadow style requires direction + rehearsal with the cast + crew it is best utilized in local theatre productions.  Synergy ASL performers have worked on everything from Shakespeare to Rocky Horror – and everything in every type of theatre: union houses, professional theatres, university theatre programs, community theatre and children’s theatre.  

zone

centralized sight lines

The zone style of interpreting is best described as the mid point between shadowing and platform.  Interpreters are costumed + placed in the nearby vicinity – bringing the language in closer proximity to the action without adding specific blocking for interpreters.  This positions both languages as well as the stage action at a more comfortable distance.

Footage of CARRIE: The Musical © Synergy on Stage + Oakland University School of Music, Theatre + Dance.

Zone can be used in conjunction with shadowing during ensemble moments – such as grand dance numbers – or when intimate emotional moments are playing out on stage.  This keeps language close but not intrusive of the actors energy.

Zone may also be suitable for shows with complex stage design.

platform

language accessibility

Platform or concert interpreting places 2 appropriately dressed interpreters to the side of the stage, placing language far from action yet accessible.  If you went to a foreign film, think of having the subtitles on the wall – off to the side.  This style is most often paired with concert venues/touring productions that receive requests from consumers to provide language accessibility.

Concert footage + Interpretations © Synergy on Stage

Due to the lack of opportunity for interpreters + performers to rehearse together the interpreters, instead, prepare the language thoroughly – consulting with the ticket holder, if possible.

Contact Synergy on Stage

Send an email to [email protected] OR fill out the form below

Our team

With 15 years of experience JAMIE FIDLER will bring out the subtext of any script using her face.

Jamie Fidler received her BA in Sign Language Studies from Madonna University in 2004 and currently holds RID national certification level NIC with a Medical/Mental Health endorsement.  Since her start in theatrical interpreting back in 2006 she has been a part of more than 70 productions. She has performed with many local theaters in productions such as A Chorus Line (Stagecrafters), Treasure Island (Wild Swan Theater), Beauty and The Beast (DYPAC), and Bells Are Ringing (Oakland University).  Co-founder of Synergy on Stage, Jamie hopes to continue advancing the experiences of Deaf performance artists + Deaf patrons of entertainment by listening to their experiences and moving forward together.

With a decade of experience ERIN HUMANN will bring her sassy sense of humor while enhancing your next production.

Erin Humann graduated with honors from Madonna University in 2007 with a bachelors degree in Sign Language Studies.  Madonna University recognized her outstanding achievement in the humanities by presenting her with the Ernest I. Nolan Award.  Erin is currently Vice President of MIRID and works as a freelance American Sign Language/English interpreter throughout South East Michigan specializing in community, government, video relay and post-secondary interpreting.  Erin started her career as an ASL performer in 2009.  She now has more than a 50 productions under her belt including: The Firebird (Wild Swan Theater), The Wizard of Oz (Wild Swan Theater), Little Women (Wild Swan Theater), Little Mermaid (DYPAC), Shrek: The Musical (DYPAC), Much Ado About Nothing (Oakland University), Spring Awakening (Oakland University) and many more.

Having played his first role at the age of 7 JAMES CECH is a dedicated performer with linguistic skills that are out of this world.

James has been in the theater world all of his life, playing his first role at the age of seven. Extensively performing throughout middle school and high school, he was accepted into The Young Americans after graduation which allowed him to perform and teach on three international tours and one national tour. He has performed inGermany, Sweden, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and Japan. He earned his sign language degree from Baker College of Auburn Hills and currently holds his BEI 3. He has been shadowing theater for almost 10 years and has enjoyed working on shows such as West Side Story at the Fisher Theater in Detroit, Bells Are Ringing at Oakland University, and A Christmas Carol with Wild Swan Theater among others.

Trained as an actor first COURTNEY BUTCHER brings a unique perspective to any performance.

Courtney Butcher’s love of shadow interpreting developed while she was studying theatre at Oakland University. She had the opportunity to work inclusively with the interpreters, which produced a gratifying artistic result. After graduating from OU with her BA in Performing Arts, she decided to enroll in the Interpreter Training Program at Oakland Community College. She received her state certification (BEI 1) in 2012 and has since performed in The Cricket in Times Square (Wild Swan Theater), Captain Louie (Oakland University), The Little Mermaid (DYPAC), Miracle on 34th Street (DYPAC) and The Liar (Oakland University). She also works as a substitute interpreter in the educational K-12 setting, where she loves working with the kindergarten students as well as Deaf-Blind students.

With more than 20 years of experience SHELLY TOCCO is a leading expert in theatrical interpreting.

Michele Tocco, NIC Master began her passion for theatrical interpreting in 1996 when she shadow interpreted her first Wild Swan Theater play, Alice In Wonderland.  Since then, she has performed as a shadow interpreter in over 100 productions in theaters throughout the Metro Detroit area.  Michele received Special Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Integrated Sign Language by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2009 for her ASL performance in The Trojan Women. In 2012, she co-produced and performed in Police Deaf Near Far – which achieved glowing reviews and sold out performances for its entire run. In addition to her specialization in theatrical interpreting, Michele also concentrates her interpreting skills working for the Deaf-blind community and freelance interpreting.

Consulting with CHRISTIAN YOUNG brings a fresh outlook that audiences will love.

Grew up in Romeo, Michigan and attended Michigan School for the Deaf from 1st grade all the way up to graduating from High School in 2009. In the fall of 2009, I would enroll at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York as a Business Major. Upon receiving an Associate of Science degree in Business, I would transfer to the Multidisciplinary Studies program to broaden my educational and employment opportunities. I received a Bachelors Degree in 2014 in Applied Arts & Sciences with minors in Communication and Economics.  I met the Synergy on Stage team through a great group of friends who would refer the Synergy team to me. Being a part of the Synergy team activities several nights a week is a nice change of pace and a lot of fun as well.  I have played basketball my whole life and also enjoy golf among other sports. 

Superb analyst of client needs LINDSEY LOWE is able to adapt to the demands of a diverse language client base.

Lindsey Wiegand graduated from Madonna University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sign Language Studies in 2007.  She then went on to earn a Master or Arts in Interpretation from Gallaudet University in 2009 and became nationally certified the same year.  Lindsey works as a freelance American Sign Language/English interpreter in the Metro-Detroit area, including work in the medical, legal and educational fields.  Lindsey joined Synergy on Stage in 2013 and looks forward to adding to her portfolio as a theatre interpreter.

A seasoned pro – STEPHANIE BEATTY is a tour de force.

Stephanie Beatty earned her BA in sign language studies from Madonna University in 2009 and in 2010 was recognized as the first African-American in the state of Michigan to receive BEI certification. Stephanie currently holds a BEI 2 and works as a freelance interpreter primarily in medical and mental health and education. She is also an adjunct instructor at a local college, teaching ASL linguistics and interpreting courses, as well as beginner and intermediate ASL. Recently, Stephanie earned the title Dr. Stephanie as she received her doctorate in general educational psychology. Merging her love of psychology and the Deaf community, Stephanie’s research focused on the educational experiences of culturally deaf adults. Some of Stephanie’s most notable assignments include interpreting for political activist Dr. Cornel West, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, rapper T.I., and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

BIO COMING SOON

Not a stranger to the stage, Rachel Nash is excited to combine her love for theatre with her love for interpreting.

Rachel Nash began her theatre career at a young age and has been involved in many productions. She was first introduced to the interpreting profession after seeing an interpreter at a concert. Eager to learn about the language, Deaf community, and accessibility, she enrolled and graduated in 2018 from Oakland Community College with her Associates Degree in Sign Language Studies. She received her state certification (BEI 1) in 2019 and currently works in education (K-12), post-secondary, and freelance interpreting. Rachel is thrilled to join Synergy on Stage and looks forward to learning more about the theatre from a new role.