Captioning Awareness Week #CAPaware16: 14 to 19 November 2016 Tweet
posted on: 16 November 2016, posted by: Simon Overington-Hickford
Unlimited Trainee, Simon Overington-Hickford, shines a spotlight on Stage Text’s Captioning Awareness Week.
When Unlimited commissions artists, we ask them to think about making their work as accessible as possible, to reach as many people as possible.
There are a variety of reasons for this:
- we commission high quality work, so we want to remove barriers in order for the maximum amount of people to experience it
- by making your work more accessible, you could get bigger audiences as more people will be able to attend as an audience member or exhibition visitor
- accessibility can open up new avenues of creativity for artists and venues as well
There are many other ways to make both your work, and the way you market it, more accessible to a wider range of audience members (more on that here) but as this week it’s StageText’s Captioning Awareness Week, we thought we’d start with captioning. If you’re new to all this, then captioning videos is a great way to make a positive start to making them more accessible.
Captioning can help you reach the 11 million people in the UK who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing – that’s 1 in 6 of us. Adding captions to films you’re uploading online is easier then you think and it’s becoming increasingly important for everyone, considering how many of us watch videos on the move (have you ever tried to watch a film without captioning on a busy train!?).
You can watch some of examples of Unlimited’s captioned videos below.
Now think about the performance itself. StageText can provide Theatre captions that are similar to television subtitles and give people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing access to live performances. The actors’ words appear on an LED caption unit (or units), placed next to the stage or in the set, at the same time as they are spoken or sung.
Unlike opera surtitles for hearing audiences, captions include additional information such as speaker names, sound effects and offstage noises.
It’s not just traditional theatre performances that you might consider captioning: not being able to fully engage can be frustrating in any cultural setting, as Nina Thomas explains here. If you’re holding a talk or panel discussion, you could consider about hiring a Palantypist to produce live captions. Costs vary but are affordable if you think about access from the very start of your event and budget for it accordingly.
Then give a thought to other ways you can provide access. Unlimited supported artist Jack Dean thought of alternative ways for a wider audience to access his work by providing transcripts for deaf and hard of hearing audiences members (you can read more here).
We think Captioning Awareness Week is a great idea but remember you don’t have to tackle it all in one week. Being aware of captioning could be start of a brilliant journey into better access for all your audiences.
You can find out more about Stage Text’s Caption Awareness week here.