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> > > Stagetext celebrates 15 years with launch of first Captioning Awareness Week

Stagetext, the leading captioning charity for the creative arts, is celebrating its 15 year anniversary with the launch of the first ever Captioning Awareness Week, from 9-15 November.

a photo of a group of people at a Stagetext event at the Hunterian museum

Tour with live subtitles at the Hunterian Museum, London.Photo: Anthony Brown

An estimated ten million people in the UK are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing, that’s 1 in 6 of the population. Captioning and live subtitles provide access to arts and culture through text, which appears on screens at the same time as they are spoken or sung by a speaker. The service can transform people’s experience of arts and culture, help sustain cultural attendance and also bring people back to the arts.

Stagetext was founded in 2000 by three deaf and hard of hearing theatregoers, frustrated by the lack of access to theatre performances. They discovered captioning technology being used on Broadway and set up Stagetext to build the service in the UK. The first Stagetext captioned performance took place at the Barbican in 2000, the RSC’s production of The Duchess of Malfi.

From 9 to 15 November, Captioning Awareness Week will celebrate the immense achievement of captioning over the past fifteen years, in opening up arts and culture to deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences. It will also seek to further raise the profile of the service, by bringing together venues and caption users from around the country to celebrate the current experiences of caption users and reaching out to those who might benefit, but don’t realise the service exists.

During the week there will be a number of events, including an online watch-a-long to the captioned production of Into the Woods, on the Digital Theatre platform, as well as captioned performances and live subtitled talks around the country. Stagetext are also asking arts organisations and caption users to show their support through their social media selfie campaign, I’m #CAPaware.

Stagetext are delighted that the some of the first captioned NT Live screenings of Hamlet, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and captured live from the Barbican in London, will take place during the week, expanding the reach of the service and opening up cinema broadcasts to deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences.