Stagetext has received support from National Lottery Heritage Fund for an archive project which will tell the story of how open captioning was developed and established within live arts and culture across the UK.
The project, “Captions Speak Louder: Discovering the Story of Open Captioning”, will cover the history of a range of access methods introduced by and for d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people, and will benefit from a grant of £95,900, which has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.
Stagetext’s founders Peter Pullan and Merfyn Williams said: “Captioning has enriched and transformed the lives of d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people, enabling more people to feel included in many different kinds of arts events. There is still a long way to go before our dream of full access to arts and cultural events is achieved, but we are proud to have been pioneers in improving access for many people. An archive for Stagetext will enable many different people to engage with its work”.
Captions Speak Louder is a two-year project that will preserve an archive of the history of Stagetext, the organisation that brought open captioning to UK theatres and developed the quality standards that are now used around the world. The project will engage the public through a touring exhibition, an online gallery, and a programme of public talks.
Stagetext is a d/Deaf-led charity that provides and promotes better access for d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences at arts and cultural venues through captioning and live subtitling. Stagetext began in 2000 as a grassroots movement founded by three d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing theatre lovers.
Commenting on the award, Stagetext’s Acting Chief Executive, Liz Hilder said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and we are excited to share the heritage of Stagetext more widely – particularly in the lead up to our 20th anniversary in November 2020”.
The archive will be deposited at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and made available indefinitely, and there will be opportunities for d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing volunteers to co-curate the exhibition and to spread the word about Stagetext’s history.