The access point of contact
Planning your first captioned show will require the support of many departments at your venue – whether it’s the technical team organising the delivery and setting up of equipment or an usher learning to communicate clearly with deaf or hard of hearing patrons at your venue.
Ideally, you want everyone in your venue to become a mini-expert, full of information about captioning that they can share with patrons, other staff or captioners. However, there’s also huge value in one person – usually the access officer – being a designated point of contact for access at your venue.
Put simply, having the name of someone you can contact helps deaf patrons feel that they are contacting a real person (rather than a generic contact). It gives them someone they can ask for when they phone, email or come to your venue and it makes it clear that someone is taking responsibility for access.
Being the designated contact also means that other staff in your venue will know who to come to with any questions, and will copy you in on access matters so you’re aware of everything that’s going on.
Even at this early stage, be sure to add the access contact person’s name and contact details to your venue’s website – and even better, add a photo with a direct email address and phone number.
Knowing what you look like will mean deaf patrons will feel more able to approach you when they meet you in person.