What motivates them?

What do patrons say they want?

“A theatre experience approximating what it used to be like for me.”

“To be able to enjoy the show like anyone else.”

People with sensory impairments think a good theatregoing experience is one where they feel they have had an equal experience, the same as everyone else.

Captioning makes a difference to thousands of deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people in the UK.

Try this …

Click each person to find out how captioning has worked for them.

Alan describes how captioning makes the theatre more inclusive.

 Photo of Alan and quote "It was like a silent performance to me..."

Tim describes how he can use captioning to ‘hear’ the words and action.

Photo of Tim and quote "I forgot that I was deaf."

David discusses his first experience of theatre captioning.

Photo of David and quote "It was astonishing"

Suzanne describes her love of the theatre and attending her first captioned performance.

Photo of Suzanne and quote "Stage-mad, always, and when I lost my hearing..."

Once someone has had a good experience at a venue, whether at an assisted performance or not, they are more likely to become repeat attenders.

For some deaf people it’s the social side of a theatre trip that motivates them – meeting up with friends and enjoying a night out with others. A shared understanding of communication barriers can also be a significant motivating factor:

“Most people with a significant hearing loss won’t choose to ‘include’ themselves in activities where conversation is an important element unless they know that there will be others who use the same communication mode as they do and with whom they can communicate easily … A person with a hearing loss could be eager to [get involved] but might shy away from doing so because he or she won’t be able to participate in the small talk.”[1]

What you can do …

  • Promote your desire to offer equal access.
  • Be transparent about any barriers or difficulties that you face in providing equal access and actively engage with deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people in helping to find solutions.
  • Consider building social networking structures into the theatregoing experience by encouraging people to come with friends and family or by creating opportunities for meeting and talking to others.

[1] Gina A. Oliva and Anne Simonsen, ‘Re-thinking Leisure Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons: A New Paradigm’, Parks & Recreation, May, 2000

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