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Campaign champions access to the arts for deaf audiences

An arts charity is championing access to the arts this week for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences, as new data reveals that increasing numbers of people are using captions and subtitles to improve their event experience.

Captioning Awareness Week 2023 is being organised by Stagetext, and will see arts venues across the country hold captioned live performances and talks. For the first time, it will also be providing live subtitles for the switching on of the Christmas lights in Colchester city centre.

This week has seen the publication of new research, conducted by The Audience Agency on behalf of Stagetext, which shows that a quarter (24%) of us use captions or subtitles at live events, and more than half of us (54%) use them to watch content on TV or online.

Melanie Sharpe, Stagetext’s Chief Executive, commented: “Stagetext is really encouraged by these figures. There are a significant amount of people saying they use captions and subtitles for watching online and at live events.”

The report also revealed that captions and subtitles make a big difference to the experience of those using them. More than seven out of 10 (74%) said that they made a positive difference, with 35% of those saying they made the experience ‘a lot better’. The research also found that 42% of people questioned said they use subtitles or captions to help with concentration.

Stagetext campaigns for more access to the arts for the 12 million deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people in the UK. It also highlights their work within the arts and reinforces the need for venues and arts organisations to provide access with captions and subtitles.

David, a subtitle user explained why they are important to him: “I’m hard of hearing and I use subtitles every day, as they are so important for me to watch TV or attend live events.  Without them I have to concentrate so much more, and I often miss things, which means I just don’t enjoy the performance or video I am watching.”

Captioning Awareness Week 2023 takes place from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th November, and is an annual campaign to raise awareness of captioning and deaf access to the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit: