Every word counts

The latest update from Melanie Sharpe

So, I thought it would be a good idea to put pen to paper or in my case fingers to keyboard and update you all once more as to what is happening at Stagetext.

Despite lots of venue closures, event cancellations and the lockdown I can honestly say that “a lot has been happening”. We have been incredibly busy with a range of online productions - I’m sure you have been enjoying the National Theatre at Home season and the Shows Must Go On series with subtitles provided by Stagetext before they went on hiatus.

We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to welcome back our furloughed staff, albeit in a part-time capacity. Not only is it wonderful to be working with our lovely colleagues again, but it also means we can start planning for the future.

Olivia, our Theatre Manager, is now back to work one day a week and has been touching base with captioners and venues as they start to think about alternative ways of bringing you online and socially distanced performances. New innovative ways of presenting work are being discussed and we want to ensure that they are accessible, though we are far from having ‘normal’ theatre performances with lots of people sat in an auditorium.

We’re also continuing to bring you as many varied online events as possible. Courtney, our Live Subtitling Manager, has been working hard making artist Q&As accessible, working on live-subtitled productions for The Old Vic, as well as becoming an instant expert on producing subtitles for Zoom, it’s been quite the learning curve.

At present most of the team are working four-day weeks but we promise you we’re as strong as ever and though no-one is in a rush to go back to the office to work, due to the long commutes on public transport, we’re all in high-spirits staying in contact via Zoom, like most of the country.

Despite our positivity we are very aware that the last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone personally and professionally and though there’s been a huge and captivated audience turning to the arts to lift their spirits, the industry as a whole has been one of the hardest hit financially by the crisis.

We’re delighted and relieved that the Government has worked with the DCMS and pulled together a 1.5 billion support package, help that was desperately needed. But it will need to stretch a long way. At present there are no details about how this money will be deployed, what form it will take and how you can apply. Stagetext will need to access this fund if we are to keep the arts accessible to our d/Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences, as well as making sure that all our freelancers are supported.

We would also like to thank everyone who has supported us during the lockdown, your ongoing generosity over the last few months has kept us going. Whether it’s £5 or £500 your donations have given us security and have allowed us to caption and subtitle some of the best online events during this crisis. If you are able to, please make a donation to Stagetext at uk.virginmoneygiving.com. Every penny raised is helping to keep us going and provide services for you.

We can’t wait to see you safely back in venues, in the meantime you can keep up-to-date with all our online events at www.stagetext.org/whats-on.

Thank you and best wishes,

Melanie Sharpe

Stagetext CEO

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