Entertainment

Sunday 22 September 2019

Campaign to give deaf audiences greater access to the arts

Campaigners are pushing for greater use of live caption technology in a series of live performances.

Les Miserables at the Quee’s Theatre will make use of live captions (Ian West/PA)
Les Miserables at the Quee’s Theatre will make use of live captions (Ian West/PA)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Campaigners are calling for theatres, museums and galleries across the country to give deaf and hard of hearing audiences access to the “passion of the arts”.

There are calls for more venues to provide captions for around 11 million hearing impaired people in the UK, and a series of subtitled and captioned events is being held to promote greater accessibility.

Caption Awareness Week sees shows such as Mamma Mia and Les Miserables make use of live captions which give hearing impaired audiences greater enjoyment of the arts, with text displayed live throughout the performances.

Melanie Sharpe is CEO of Stagetext, a charity which is leading the campaign to make arts events more accessible to the hearing impaired.

She said: “By unifying arts venues and caption users from around the country, Stagetext hopes to bring to life the passion and excitement of the arts to many more people.

“Around 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss and we want to make sure that they still have access to the breadth of theatrical and cultural experiences on offer.

“Through Captioning Awareness Week we hope to shine a spotlight on the variety of different events and experiences that are available, so that audience members with hearing loss, or people who miss a word here and there can have their theatrical and cultural experiences transformed.”

The campaign is running from November 12 to 18, and venues across the country will make use of live caption technology to offer running subtitles during performances.

Campaigners want the technology to be incorporated into more shows, and for great information to be provided in galleries and museums for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Sharpe said: “Although the Captioning Awareness Week is a celebration, it is also a reminder of how much further we need to come to ensure that large sections of society aren’t excluded from something that many of us take for granted.”

The first event of the campaign week will be Measure For Measure, played at the Donmar Warehosue in London.

PA Media

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