# 37 III-4.

3200 September 30, 1992

The Honorable Alan Wheat U.S. House of Representatives 1210 Longworth Building Washington, D.C. 20515-2505 Dear Congressman Wheat: This letter responds to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Candy Knabe, who asks whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires performance theaters to provide tickets and programs in Braille to persons with visual impairments. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituent in understanding the requirements of the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of rights or responsibilities under the ADA, and it is not binding on the Department. The ADA and the regulation issued by the Department under title III of the ADA require a public accommodation, such as a theater that is privately owned and operated, to provide auxiliary aids and services necessary to ensure equal access to the services that it offers. Specifically, the regulation requires that the auxiliary aids and services ensure effective communication with persons with disabilities. A public accommodation is not required, however, to provide any auxiliary aid or service that would fundamentally alter the nature of the services offered or that would result in an undue burden. Similar requirements apply under the Department's title II regulation to theaters owned and operated by State or local governments. Please refer to section 36.303 of the title III regulation, pages 25-28 of the Title III Technical Assistance

Manual, section 35.160 of the title II regulation, and pages 3537 of the Title II Technical Assistance Manual, all of which are enclosed, for a discussion of these requirements. Application of these principles in most circumstances would mean that, although theaters are free to provide Brailled tickets and programs to persons with visual impairments, they are not required to do so. If a theater provides an usher to guide persons with visual impairments to their seats, in most instances effective communication has been provided and Brailled tickets are unnecessary. Similarly, the ADA does not necessarily require theaters to provide programs in Braille for persons with visual impairments; in many instances, particularly for persons who have visual impairments but do not read Braille, effective communication might be provided by making available tape-recorded versions of programs, or by making available persons who can read programs to individuals with visual impairments. I hope this information will assist you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures (4)