Captioned theatre funding program for US regional venues

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Friday, 14 March 2014 15:18pm

American not-for-profit organisation Theatre Development Fund (TDF) is offering two-year partnerships to regional venues to provide open captioning of performances. The partnerships introduce new audiences to captioned theatre and inspire theatre companies to continue with a caption service at the partnership’s completion.

The partnerships, developed as the National Open Captioning Initiative, are funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the MetLife Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The funding is put directly towards the service and its promotion, as opposed to providing a cheque to the partners.

Under this system, TDF and each regional venue are jointly responsible for the open caption service. The TDF provides the contracting of captioning services, assistance with promotion and expertise around audience development, equipment and accessible service queries. Each venue handles the ticketing service, marketing, program credit to TDF and audience feedback.

The National Open Captioning Initiative has been running for ten years and since its inception, the majority of theatres have independently continued to provide captioned performances at the partnership’s end. During a partnership, TDF and the theatre work to grow the audience for open captioning and identify local funding sources to sustain it.

Performances in America have until 15 April to apply for the program.

In Australia, The Captioning Studio provides its GoTheatrical! commercial service to arts companies via LCD screens or an app for iOS and Android devices. Audio description, for those who are blind or vision impaired, is also offered by select theatres across Australia. Further information on accessible arts in Australia can be found in our Cinema and the Arts pages.

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