At The Rose, we believe that live theater and arts education should be enjoyed by all people, regardless of ability. Every day, we are striving to make our shows accessible. One of the ways that we do this is through Closed Captioning for our live performances. Fran Sillau, director of accessibility at The Rose, came up with the idea to offer captions for our live performances, benefiting anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing. This Closed Captioning system is a complimentary addition to our American Sign Language interpreters that are scheduled for every second Saturday of a run. In addition, patrons who use an Assisted Listening Device also benefit from having spoken words as text in front of them.
Kevin Ehrhart, the Chief Information Officer, developed a system that includes a laptop computer, 6 tablets, and a Wi-Fi device. The laptop plays a slideshow presentation that has hundreds of slides containing the entire script. Usually, there are about one to two lines per slide, depending on how fast the actors speak. The tablets, or the patron’s personal smartphone, connects to Wi-Fi and receives the slideshow presentation.
Currently, the system runs by someone in the house manually advancing through the slides as the show progresses. In the future, we hope to integrate the commands into a program that runs lighting and sound cues, making Captioning automated and available for any performance.
To learn more about accessibility and The Rose Theater, check out https://www.rosetheater.org/box-office/accessibility/ or contact Fran Sillau at firstname.lastname@example.org.