LIVE CAPTIONING (CART) in Entertainment/Theater

Why CART in Entertainment?

Theater Captioning Advocacy Needed!

Seems that many more are asking for live captioning for live theater – great. And it takes persistence. One recent good outcome, albeit with a court case when asking was not enough, is described here:

And TDF has been a mentor and advisor for many years:

===THEATER CAPTIONERS -Add your name to this page. Send us your contact information, and we’ll create a section here just for Theater Captioners.

=== Looking for Captioning for iTunes? Here’s a good step by step  Other companies welcome to update the CCAC too – Netflix, Hulu, all,, we want to hear from you.

To find a list of movies captioned in iTunes (captions work for all
i-devices – AppleTV, iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch):

– Open the iTunes Store – – on the right side of the screen, in the QuickClicks box, click on Power
– in the pull-down menu on the left, use the pull-down menu to select Movies – – you will now see a list of fields to fill in (Title, Actor, Director/Producer, etc.) and under all that will be 2 check boxes. The one
on the left says “search only for movies that contain closed captioning”
– you can leave all other fields blank to get a list of ALL captioned movies
– click Search.
They rotate their stock, but the count (April 24) is about 700 captioned movies presently
available, most to rent or buy; some just to buy.
– be sure to turn on captions in the menu appropriate for the right device
(in Settings on iPods, iPads, Apple TV, or in a pull-down Controls menu on a Mac or PC.NEWS:

===April 2011: Kudos to folks in Virginia Beach, Virginia. By request, theater captioning was included for “The Color Purple – The Musical about Love” at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tell the world, and thanks to CCAC advocates who made it happen. Also in Virginia – Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia also provides theater captioning upon request, e.g. for The Lion King show late last fall.Tell the CCAC about your advocacy for theater, movies, other entertainments where you want to be included. ********************************************************************************************************


Theater and cultural events no longer need to be off limits to patrons who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Open captioning provides accessibility to individuals who otherwise may not attend theatrical or cultural events due to their hearing loss. It is a service that can and should be provided on a regular basis at all events.

Oftentimes, as an aging population experiences a hearing loss, activities they once enjoyed, such as an
evening at the theatre, become a source of frustration when the words and lyrics become indecipherable. They
no longer attend theatrical events and often develop an isolated and withdrawn lifestyle. (People of all ages have hearing loss also.)

Open captioning should not be confused with American Sign Language interpreters. The majority of deaf and
hard-of-hearing people do not communicate with ASL, especially late-deafened adults. In fact, feedback
received indicates even ASL users prefer open captioning in a theatre setting because the communication is unilateral, not bilateral. They feel they can better follow the storyline because they are viewing the actual words being spoken and are not relying on someone’s interpretation of the performance.

Open captioning converts the spoken word or lyrics into text, which is displayed on a caption unit that is viewed by the audience. As the captions scroll, audience members can follow what is said, when it is said, and by whom. Sound effects and off-stage noises are also included.Open captions give verbatim dialogue and lyrics so patrons with hearing loss may enjoy the performance along with the rest of the audience without being singled out and using “distinguishing” equipment. Hearing and non-hearing people can sit together to enjoy the performance.

There are various styles of displays that can be utilized, depending on the size of venue and audience. Open captioning also has the benefit of enhancing the performance for all audience members. The caption display is utilized by the audience as a whole when the performance involves thick accents or dialect, when there is a missed a word or phrase, when lyrics are difficult to understand, or in theatres where there are poor acoustics.

Even those for whom English is a Second Language can benefit from open captions. And additional customers, and their families, are very appreciative of captioning (e.g. people with many different sorts of learning and listening styles).

Following is an excerpt from a testimonial of a theatre-goer who is deaf, following her OC experience:

“The open-captioning is by far the BEST option that can be enjoyed by a variety of patrons of varying hearing levels and language levels. If you want to attract more patrons, I really think this service is a one-for-all and puts the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing patrons on an even playing field with hearing patrons. ASL interpreters only attract Deaf people who use ASL, and the population of ASL users is very small. Some of us are ASL users, but open-captioning is much more appropriate in a theatre setting.”

The best part of this service is that it does not attract attention to the patrons who may benefit from the service. Research has shown that people who have a hearing loss deny having this and fear requesting services that would put them in the spotlight.

With open-captioning on a special LED display, patrons can sit anywhere in a designated area and not have to
worry about feeling judged if they look at the screen. Lastly, the position and size of the display, in my opinion, does not interfere with the show.”

It is important to educate theatres on the benefits of open captioning so they no longer look at it as an expense, but rather understand their audience will increase by providing accessibility and marketing it in their venue. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Prepared for the CCAC by TRCS
Turner Reporting & Captioning Services, Inc.
(702) 242-9263
Capturing the Spoken Word Since 1980