Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people wanting to attend a live theatre performance need to use one or more of the following means of access:
Captioning builds on the experience of television subtitles and is particularly useful for people whose hearing loss means that sound enhancement systems alone are not enough. Access to captions and sound enhancement enables many people to ‘hear’ the spoken text much more clearly.
Sign language interpretation enables people who use sign language, whether as a first or second language, to enjoy live performance in the language that is most appropriate to them.
Sound enhancement, which includes induction loops, infrared and radio, are particularly helpful to people with a mild hearing loss who wear hearing aids.
A theatre that is aiming to be fully accessible to all deaf people should offer all three services: captioning, sign language interpretation and a good working sound enhancement system.