Stagetext are excited to be celebrating all things digital during this year’s Captioning Awareness Week.

We’ve all had to spend a great deal of time indoors this year and have seen all our favourite venues, theatres, museums, and galleries closed for a long period of time. But that hasn’t stopped them bringing arts and culture into our home, helping to entertain us and keeping us feeling a little less isolated. We thought this year would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate everything that goes into making these digital talks, virtual tours, and online theatre accessible to the one in five of us who are d/Deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing! Stagetext start the week with a call out to venues and performers to ensure they don’t forget about people with hearing loss:

Lockdown online events must be accessible to d/Deaf audiences
Call comes amid mental health concerns about Deaf and those with hearing loss as UK heads into another lockdown.

Stagetext, which provides captioning and live subtitling in theatres and cultural venues, is concerned about the disproportionate impact the lockdown will have on d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people. It follows official figures released in the summer which show that people with a hearing impairment are 45% more likely to have reported feeling lonely[1].

The arts charity has seen an increase in demand for live captioned performances online since the first UK lockdown. In April it provided the subtitling for the Phantom of the Opera, with an incredible 2.5 million watching using Stagetext’s subtitles (12.8 million in total watched the performance).

Melanie Sharpe, Chief Executive of Stagetext, said: “We are fortunate enough in the UK to have some of the best theatres, museums and galleries in the world.

“We take for granted that most of us are able to enjoy incredible performances and exhibitions, even during a lockdown.

“For the 12 million in the UK who are hard of hearing, it’s not so easy, and we’ve got to do all we can to include them during these challenging times.

“People who are Deaf or with hearing loss are more likely to experience loneliness than non-disabled people, and access to the arts has been proven to improve mental wellbeing.”

The call comes as Stagetext celebrates its sixth annual Captioning Awareness Week (CAW) (9-15 November 2020), which is supported by theatres, museums and galleries in the UK.

The campaign highlights the importance of access to the arts for d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences, at a time when performances and exhibitions are being accessed online more than ever before.

Highlights during Captioning Awareness Week include a live subtitled performance of Olivier Award winning play Emilia and a number of renowned shows under the banner of The Shows Must Go On. Live captioned lectures and discussions are also being organised by the British Library, the British Academy and the Royal Society.

How can I get involved?

Captioning Awareness Week is a chance to celebrate all the museums, theatres, galleries, and artists who have been making, so we’re asking our users to let us know what they’ve been watching online and what events they’ve enjoyed from the comfort of their own home. We’ll also be having some fun and games with our social media,

Let Stagetext know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about your #ArmchairAccess, and give a shout out to the shows and events you’ve been enjoying online.

Stagetext have a series of webinars planned this week and other events such as ‘Museum Hour from 8pm – 9pm on Monday 9th.

Find out more and get involved here