Now an avid theatregoer, Rosemary Hoffman enjoys regular trips to captioned shows along with her family and friends. She found out about STAGETEXT by chance four years ago and is thrilled to have rediscovered the joy of live theatre.
"I have been hard of hearing since I was a child and have used subtitles on TV for a long time. I hadn’t been to the theatre for about 20 years until I discovered STAGETEXT captioning quite by chance when we went to the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, with my husband’s school party to see Much Ado About Nothing in 2008. Captioning was a revelation, and Carol, who usually comes to the theatre with me also, has a hearing loss and had bought seats at the front so she could hear.
I decided to find out more and now regularly use the STAGETEXT calendar to the full. I particularly like going to National Theatre productions as they give out synopses if you want them and make sure you are happy where you are sitting. The NT has a number of productions that are at other theatres too so we have been to a few of them.
One particularly memorable production was Women Beware Women at the National Theatre. I saw the name Samuel Barnett and knew that he was a relation (his great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters). I met him briefly after the show, got a photo taken and sent it to his grandparents who actually live in Australia.
We loved the production of War Horse so much that we took our spouses and my son (who is also hard of hearing) and his wife. Recently we were lucky enough to get seats for One Man, Two Guvnors, with James Corden who was brilliantly funny.
We noticed that when we saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert we were able to get all the words and some of the hearing audience found it so loud they had difficulty.
I particularly enjoy musicals and living in Greater London it’s easy to get to most theatres by tube.
This year we are going to the Open Air Theatre for its two productions and hope it will be better weather than last summer. During our visit to The Beggar’s Opera it rained three times during the performance and we had to wipe our seats each time we went back!
Over the past two years we only had two duds which shall remain nameless to spare any blushes. We like all sorts of plays from the experimental, serious and funny; I have even been to Shakespeare’s Globe and seen Macbeth with captions. STAGETEXT has increased the range of its activities and re-introduced me to the joy of live theatre and I think it’s absolutely great that deaf and hard of hearing people are now able to enjoy life on an equal basis with others at the theatre.
Carol and I have one small gripe: we always put our coats in the cloakroom – it’s not much fun having to scramble over everyone else’s. Please use the cloakroom if you can, it’s more comfortable for everyone.
I am a retired Food Technologist and my hobby is genealogy. I also help other people discover their ancestors and it’s become a very popular hobby. All of us have a history and finding out about the lives of our ancestors can be very rewarding; mine appear to have been movers and shakers, and still are!