Theatre Captioning is for members of an audience who are d/Deaf, Deafened, or Hearing Impaired. Theatre Captioning, similar to television or film sub-titling, converts the spoken word to text, which is then displayed collectively (Open Captioning) or Individually (Closed Captioning) to the audience.
The d/Deaf audience can the see what is being said, when it is said and by whom. Speaker names, sound effects and offstage noises are also included.
Theatre Captions are usually delivered live by a Captioner outputting lines of prepared text from a laptop, but it is now possible to deliver Captions automatically – this may be using speech recognition software (see the CaptionCue Project where Digital 4 introduced this technology to the National Theatre), or by recording time-lines similar to those used in film sub-titling and delivering sections of text by OSC commands or other cue triggers.
Theatre Captioning is often been a post-production “add-on” to a completed show with text prepared and then delivered by a third party company such as Stagetext, and this model continues to work very well.
The introduction of new Software and a wider choice of Display Devices – full colour Venue Displays, Projectors, Smart caption Glasses, – has meant that Theatres have begun taking a more creative approach to Captioning.
Creative Captioning treats Captioning as part of the production process and an integral part of the show itself and, as a result, all the shows in the run are accessible to d/Deaf audience – Theatre Captioning has become “Creative”!
The single unifying principle of all types of Theatre Captioining is that it aspires to offer d/Deaf, deafened and hearing impaired audiences members the best possible access to theatre and also Theatre’s associated events such as pre-show tours and post-show discussions.
If you are interested in any aspect of Captioning please contact Digital 4 and we will be delighted to offer you advice and answer your questions.