For the 11 million deaf people in the UK, Stagetext, a local charity organization, provides captioning and subtitle services at theatrical performances (very similar to television captions) to give access to deaf and hard of hearing people to live cultural events.
In order to provide captions, A trained captioner prepares the text that mirrors how the actors are going to deliver them during the performance, and cues the lines to appear just as the actor speaks them. These captions are displayed in one or two electronic displays on or to the right of the stage. Character names are also shown so the audience knows who is saying or singing the lines, and sound effects like gunshots, etc. are displayed as well so the deaf audience understands the meaning and essence of the scene.
While buying tickets, the person needing captions should let the box office know, so they can be seated in the right area.
It is not easy for someone to understand the plot from start to finish if they cannot fully or partially hear the dialogues. It can be a frustrating experience for many, and eventually discourage them from going to theatre. With the help of Stagetext’s captioning services, various deaf people, who were hesitant to go to theatre because they couldn’t understand or hear the dialogues, and thus couldn’t keep track of the plot, are flocking to the theatre again! Captioning enables the audience to not only grasp every word that is being said, which can be extremely critical, especially in the case of Shakespeare, but also keep track of the plot throughout the show. Captioning has made an enormous difference in deaf visitors’ lives – in addition to experiencing wonderful performances, they also see themselves enjoying the social scene that theatre is a part of. Through Stagetext’s services, the theatre community understands how much captioning adds to the enjoyment of people coming to the theatre sto watch shows.
Watch the video below to see deaf and hard of hearing audience members describe their experiences of attending captioned theatre performances, and how much and why they love it so much!
Do you have theatres in your local area that provide captioning services at live shows? Do let us know in the comments below!