UK theatre captioners receive research funding

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014 11:31am

UK charity Nesta has just announced its latest round of funding recipients under its Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts. One of the recipients is the UK’s premier arts captioning organisation, Stagetext. 

Stagetext is developing CaptionCue, an automated caption cueing system which will make it cheaper for venues to offer captioning for certain theatre productions to Deaf and hearing impaired arts patrons.  The system is being developed in London by Stagetext with Screen Subtitling Systems Ltd and Dr Pablo Romero-Fresco of Roehampton University.

CaptionCue takes speech-following technologies developed for the broadcast industry for autocue automation, combined with captions developed from the known script of a production. An existing example is for a news broadcast, where a newsreader’s script has been created and captions produced, and the software activates the caption autocue in time with how the newsreader delivers the lines.

Tabitha Allum, Chief Executive of Stagetext, said “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of automated captioning as an increase of the availability of captioning in theatre will make a huge difference to deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people who want to be able to attend shows on days and at times of their own choosing.”

Nesta’s fund is a partnership between Nesta, the Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Council, and supports ideas that use digital technology to build new business models and reach bigger audiences.

The project will take a year to complete with the results expected mid-2015. Anyone who is interested in joining a mailing list to be kept informed about the progress of the CaptionCue project should email Stagetext’s Technical Advisor Roger Graham:

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