Mayor of Colchester’s inauguration is live subtitled in first for deaf access in Essex

Mayor of Colchester’s inauguration is live subtitled in first for deaf access in Essex

The Mayor of Colchester’s inauguration will be live subtitled in what is believed to be a first for deaf access in Essex.

The highly anticipated event in Colchester’s civic calendar, will take place on Wednesday, 22 May 2024, and for the first time, councillors will be able to follow the ceremony through live subtitles provided by Stagetext, a charity for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences.

Councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell who will be sworn in as Colchester’s 191st Mayor, is partially deaf and said it was important for the event to be as inclusive as possible:  

“As profoundly deaf in my left ear and severely deaf in my right, you learn to adapt and avoid situations which are too difficult, for example, noisy restaurants, meetings and shows. Your world shrinks. But I’m in a fortunate position where I can speak to community leaders and decision makers, and I want to raise awareness and break down barriers and stereotypes. By having the inauguration live subtitled, it’s not only providing deaf access for myself, but also highlights how easy it is to be inclusive.”   

Melanie Sharpe, Stagetext’s Chief Executive, said they are delighted to be providing deaf access for the ceremony: “It’s an absolute honour for Stagetext to be involved with such a momentous occasion. We work with highly trained speech-to-text reporters (STTRs), who use specialist phonetic keyboards to deliver up to 300 words per minute at 99% accuracy. They provide real-time, verbatim subtitles which are then displayed on a screen for people to see. 

We are very excited about the possibilities of creating new partnerships and relationships within the region which will help us realise our ambitions of embedding access in all kinds of arts and culture in Essex.” 

Councillor Scott-Boutell will be sworn in with her daughter, Jessica Scott-Boutell, serving as Mayoress. During the ceremony, the new Mayor will announce the charities chosen to benefit from fundraising throughout her term. The official appointment involves Councillor Scott-Boutell taking an oath and receiving the symbolic robe and chains of office. She will then deliver a speech.  

12 million people in the UK are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, which is one in five people who could benefit from subtitles and captions to experience theatre and arts and cultural events.  

Data reveals that lockdown shifted public opinion towards increased captioning for in real life events. Nearly half (46%) said that the number of captioned performances and events available was not enough, with 77% saying they are in favour of venues offering more captioned performances.

If you have an event you would like live-subtitled, get in touch.


Back to news
Back to top