The Theatre Development Fund's Theatre Access Project (TDF/TAP) recently documented an "open captioned" performance of Amadeus on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. The photographs of the performance offer a valuable insight into the TAP open captioning system, which is designed to make theatre accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Open captioning is particularly useful for those who do not understand sign language interpretation and/or cannot utilize infrared listening devices, TDF sources said.
TAP open captioned performances involve red captioning that appears on a small digital screen located in front of one side section of the orchestra. The text is "scrolled manually in synchronization with the dialogue on stage...[and] the script is entered ahead of time by open caption developer and operator, Don DePew, so that the captions appear with no time delays or transcription errors during the performance."
TDF reports that since its introduction in New York City in 1997, TAP has presented open captioned performances of Annie Get Your Gun, Marie Christine, Swing, Art, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Electra, Footloose, Side Man, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dinner With Friends and Twelfth Night, among others.
The photographs attached to this story were taken by TDF's David LeShay, and they depict the system while in use at the Music Box. For information on upcoming open captioned and sign interpreted performances and on how to obtain discounted tickets to open captioned performances, sign language interpreted performance and other TAP services for people with disabilities, please contact Theatre Development Fund at: Voice (212) 221-1103; TTY (212) 719-4537; e-mail -- [email protected]