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A message from Melanie Sharpe

The National Theatre and Stagetext in partnership, testing new access technology

Melanie Sharpe, Stagetext CEO

"You may have heard that The National Theatre have announced that they are developing smart glasses, which will allow users to see captions for theatre performances on a screen directly in front of their eyes. This technology will eventually allow access to any NT performance, at any time and from any seat in their auditorium.

"We’re pleased to be working with the National Theatre as they trial and evaluate the “Open Access Smart Capture” technology.

"Over the past few years there have been exciting developments in technology and it is always our aim to work with those developing new captioning techniques so we can ensure the user is the number one priority and that captions remain of the highest quality.

"This new technology is still in the very early days of development and we will be working with the NT over the next year to test both the technology and the user experience. Our close colleagues, VocalEyes, will also be advising on the project as the Open Access Smart Capture technology can also provide audio description for blind and partially sighted audiences.

"At this point, no one knows what the outcome will be. In the long term, it is possible that this, or something similar, might become an additional solution for some users and Stagetext are pleased to be a part of the research process. If this does prove successful the National Theatre and Stagetext will be looking at how to distribute this new technology throughout the cultural sector, enabling the greatest possible access for the widest audience.

"We, and the National Theatre, remain committed to open captioning, however it is important to recognise the potential benefits of users being able to see any performance in the shows’ run, therefore enabling choice and increasing access.

"Stagetext is always available to offer advice and guidance on all things captioning, you can either find out further details about all our services at www.stagetext.org or email us at enquiries@stagetext.org"

Watch the BBC's news report on the new technology

Full press release from The National Theatre

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The Arts Council
The Arts Council
The Arts Council