It can be quite difficult to get coverage about captioning in the mainstream media, but it’s a great way of raising general awareness if you can.
What you can do …
Having the following ‘hooks’ can help:
- Are you about to launch something new to your venue – i.e. an in-house captioning service?
- Do you have a local celebrity/recognisable face who would be happy to endorse it, speak to the media?
- Have your received sponsorship from anyone, say a local business, for captioned performances? Perhaps they would say why the sponsorship was important to them.
- Do you have a local deaf, deafened or hard of hearing audience member who would be willing to act as an Ambassador and who would talk to the press about their experience of captioning and what it means to them? Build up a list of such people for use by your Press Office.
- There may be a deaf, deafened or hard of hearing actor in the captioned show, or the production may relate to hearing loss in some way. If so, see if they could get involved in publicity/photo shoot.
- Make sure that all forthcoming captioned performances, with an explanation of what captioning is, are included in any covering letters that go out to your mailing list with the season’s brochure.
- Ensure that all publicity materials (flyers, posters, website) include details of your captioned performances, with an explanation. This also applies to Press Listings.
- Hold an Information Day/Discover Theatre event to which caption users, local media, theatre personnel and perhaps the captioner are invited. Enlist the support of the Artistic Director to show there’s a commitment for access from the very top of the organisation.
What to say?
We’ve included some useful statistics and audience feedback in the DOWNLOADS section but some general points you should try and convey about captioning are:
- Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people feel equal (social inclusion).
- Can follow everything independently (don’t need to ask someone else to explain what’s happening).
- Can laugh at the same time as everyone else.
- Can discuss it with their friends afterwards.
- Able to enjoy theatre along with their hearing family and friends, i.e. all sit together.
- Makes the difference between following the play and being baffled.
- Brings people back to the theatre after many years’ absence, and sometimes for the first time ever.