An audience at a performance

Accessible events

A discover theatre event with audience viewing a performance with a caption unit.

As we’ve already mentioned, during the See a Voice project the staff team ran a series of events to broaden the awareness and understanding of captioning and assisted performances. They called them ‘Discover Theatre’.

What patrons said …

“It was a great day – I learnt a lot.”

“I’ve never been here before – everyone was very helpful.”

“I’m certainly going to try the captions.”

What the venues said …

“It was great for us to see some new faces and have a chance to really promote what we’re doing.”

“Hard work – but well worth it – we took 5 bookings on the day.”

Events like this are a great way to identify key patrons who could play a part in assisting you to reach new audience members or improve and promote your services; you could also identify Ambassadors or patrons willing to participate on Access Panels. Many deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people are keen to get involved.

A poster from Harrogate theatre for their Discover Theatre captioning event.

Here’s an example of the poster we used to promote a Discover Theatre event in Harrogate.

The event can include:

  • Refreshments and social time.
  • A talk and demonstration of captioning given by your local captioner – you could use a video clip or a song.
  • Tour of the venue, including the auditorium where you can discuss the importance of correct seat allocation and unit positioning.
  • A presentation of your forthcoming season of work.

Making events accessible

Many venues and arts organisations offer public events outside of their main arts programme. These might include:

  • Open/information days
  • Backstage tours
  • Youth theatre events
  • Heritage tours

These events are a great way to encourage and develop audiences for your programme of assisted performances. For example, why not have the caption units up and running when you have an open day. You can explain what captioning is and how it works – a great way to raise general awareness.

What you can do …

You might consider making a public event more accessible and do a bit of targeted promotion to encourage local deaf, deafened and hard of hearing to come along. You’ll need to provide appropriate communication support such as:

  • Induction loop
  • Lipspeaker
  • BSL interpreter
  • Tour guide system

Here is a factsheet to use when planning your accessible event: Access.eventfactsheet3

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