Syracuse Stage offers open captioning for hearing-impaired patrons
Syracuse Stage is offering open captioned performances for hearing impaired patrons, starting with the current production of “Almost, Maine.”
Captioning is intended to be an alternate form of accessibility for the estimated population of 30 million hard of hearing and deaf people in the United States, and specifically the 98 percent who do not use American Sign Language. Open captioning will be available during the performance of “Almost, Maine” on Sunday, April 11, at 2 p.m., and during the performance of “Fences” on Sunday, May 23, at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Syracuse Stage Box Office at (315) 443-3275 and asking for seats in view of the open captioning.
Open captioning is being provided, in part, by a grant from Theatre Development Fund’s TAP Plus program in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts. c2 (caption coalition) inc., a national leader in Live Performance Captioning, will provide open captioning services at Syracuse Stage.
Open captioning is a term used to describe text displayed alongside live speech, dialogue or performance. Open captions do not require the user to have any special equipment for viewing the text and are always “open” to anyone. In 1996, open captioning was first introduced inside a theater at the Paper Mill Playhouse production of “Gigi.” Open captioning in theater has gained worldwide attention and support for its universal appeal, ease of integration and program enhancement. It has introduced a wave of new audiences and, especially, offered opportunities to those who can finally return to the theater.
c2 subscribes to the model of “universal design” and the “passive assistance” of open captioning so patrons may enjoy captioning discreetly, as part of the audience at large, without being singled out and needing “distinguishing” equipment. Open captions have the additional benefit of enhancing the enjoyment of audience members who have either not self-identified their hearing loss or merely wish to catch a missed word or phrase.