Veteran actor Walter Learning lost vision over the past 5 years, but has found ways to stay on the stage
These days veteran stage actor Walter Learning can’t just read a script to prepare for his roles.
Learning, who will play Kris Kringle in a production of Miracle on 34th Street at the Sudbury Theatre Centre, has macular degeneration and is now legally blind.
The New Brunswick actor started to lose his eyesight about five years ago. The condition forced him to stop driving and made it impossible to read.
“I’ve had to find completely new ways now over the last two or three years to work on the stage,” Learning said. “I have a wonderful program on my computer called Natural Reader. Any text file it will convert to speech.”
Miracle on 34th Street opens this weekend at the Sudbury Theatre Centre and runs until Dec.14.
CBC Radio Up North host Jason Turnbull spoke with Walter Learning about adapting to acting without his sight:
About Walter Learning:
During his career, Walter has also guest directed at many theatres including the Stratford Festival, the Dallas Theater Center, Persephone Theatre, Festival Antigonish, Lighthouse Theatre, Bastion Theatre and others. He has also been a frequent director at Australia’s Canberra Repertory Theatre. He also has appeared as an actor at many theatres across Canada and has guest-starred in a number of television shows and films.
From 1992 to 1995 Walter was a freelance broadcaster, writer, actor and director. Then in 1995 he returned to Theatre New Brunswick as Executive Producer. He left this position in 1999 and has since concentrated on freelancing as an actor and director…..
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/legally-blind-actor-plays-santa-on-sudbury-stage-1.2840149 there is a recording listed there with Mr. Learning speaking briefly about his disease.