Captioning is similar to subtitles on television, allowing deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to read every word the actors say or sing.
The text is displayed on one or two LED caption units which are placed on, or as near as possible to, the set.
As well as displaying dialogue, the unit also displays character names, sound effects, and descriptions of music during the performance.
During a performance, a trained captioner, sitting in line of sight of the stage and caption units, cues the script on their laptop so that the actors’ words appear on the unit at just the right time.
The captioner will have prepared everything in advance, formatting the script, watching the play and rehearsing before the captioned performance.
It can take around 60 hours for a captioner to prepare for one show.
Meanwhile, deaf, deafened and hard of hearing members of the audience will be seated in a part of the auditorium that gives them a comfortable view of both the caption unit and the action on stage.