Everyone enjoys a trip to the theatre once in a while, but in reality stage performances are more accessible to some, than to others.
Childrens’ theatre in Ireland is a key element of the wider arts scene and should be made accessible to deaf children as far as possible.
About 3,500 deaf youngsters nationwide would benefit from a theatre captioning service like Stagetext, which the Abbey uses for its main plays.
If theatre performances are not captioned or signed, children with hearing issues have to rely on parents or guardians to ‘interpret’ for them.
The time lag in following a performance means children can get punch-lines too late for full enjoyment – while putting the ‘interpreter’ under strain.
With theatre captioning or interpretation, punch-lines (in a pantomime, for example) can be appreciated at the exact same time as everyone else.
Result: parents/guardians can relax, while children enjoy group laughter.
The feeling is priceless when accessible theatre performances are delivered.
Small theatres may lack budget for this, however. And it’s not just deaf kids who gain from captioning, as newcomers can reinforce their English.
To make smaller performances accessible, theatre producers can:
- supply child-friendly scripts for the performance in question
- assign “theatre buddies” with ISL for children to access performances
- use a display screen to show dialogue typed by a fast word-processor
- show Speedtext speech-to-text transcription on a screen (needs budget)
Let us know if you find any performances?