In Adelaide’s ‘Sunday Mail’ newspaper dated 26 June 2011, an Adelaide resident complained that WICKED the Musical was not captioned in Australia, which meant that her daughter, who has a cochlear implant, was not able to fully experience and enjoy the show.
She also commented that it was disappointing that no theatre captioning is available anywhere in South Australia.
Ms Pamela Foulkes, CEO of the State Theatre Company of SA, has responded to this. Her letter was published as follows in The Sunday Mail dated 3 July 2011:
Action On Captioning:
I am writing in response to the letter you published last week from Karen Heapy regarding captioning of live performances (“Theatre is for everyone”, Sunday Mail, June 26).
I thought that Karen and your other readers might like to know that captioning has come to South Australia. The system, developed in Australia by The Captioning Studio, projects the text of the play on to flat screens on either side of the stage in real time during the performance.
The Adelaide Festival Centre has purchased the necessary equipment, thanks to a grant from Arts SA. The State Theatre Company is now offering one Captioned Peforrmance for each play. Our first trial of the process was at a Wednesday matinee of David Mamet’s comedy November in May and the feedback, especially from elderly patrons, was very positive. Patrons for whom English is a second language also find the service helpful. So we would certainly encourage other companies performing at the Adelaide Festival Centre to take advantage of the equipment for their seasons.
There are costs involved and we are seeking a sponsor for this service to enable us to increase the number of captioned performances we can offer each season.
State Theatre Company also offers Described Performances for the visually handicapped and a range of other access prgorams in line with our commitment to making the live theatre experience accessible to all sections of our community.
Information about the Captioned Performances and our other Access Programs can be found on the Access page of our web site.
Pamela Foulkes, Chief Executive Officer, State Theatre Company of SA