Stagetext received the very sad news today that Pat Collcutt, former Access Officer at the Royal Shakespeare Company, has passed away.
Pat was instrumental in bringing captioned performances to the RSC, thus opening up the arts to many deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences.
In memory of Pat, our Co-founder Peter Pullan has written the following about her wonderful support of Stagetext in the early days.
‘We owe Pat a great deal, since she really believed in trying to bring Shakespeare to a wider group of people and she really understood how powerful captioning, as an access medium, could be.
I certainly am extremely grateful to her for her support of our early efforts; she arranged for us to give a presentation on Stagetext to an audience of industry professionals, among who was Tabitha Allum of Arts Council England, who later became our first CEO.
After the first captioned performance of ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ at the Barbican Theatre, we were thrilled to be invited to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to discuss future captioned performances. Captioned performances of ‘The Rivals’, ‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘Henry V’ took place, followed by ‘Hamlet’, ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ in due course.
Pat recognised the value of touring captioned theatre and we were asked to caption several plays around the country. Pat was also supportive of small theatre groups and we captioned a thrilling performance of ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ at Brentwood Theatre, giving us a sense of the power of captioned theatre in small spaces.
We were delighted to pass on our captioning skills to her and she trained further captioners for the RSC. Stagetext has come a long way since those early days and part of the reason for its success has been the support of people like Pat, who believed that deaf and disabled people should be able to access and enjoy the arts just like everyone else.
I am most grateful to have known her.'
Peter J. Pullan MBE
Co-founder of Stagetext.