Broadway Theaters Begin Rollout of New Access Technology
The Broadway League is coordinating efforts of its New York members who are in the process of introducing new technology to provide an improved theatergoing experience for audience members who are deaf, or who experience hearing or vision loss. These new services, in addition to currently available assistive listening devices, are provided to theatergoers free of charge.
Utilizing breakthroughs in vocal recognition technology, closed captioning and audio description - via mobile devices and headsets - will be seamlessly synchronized with live action on stage. As an example: if an actor pauses in real time, that pause will be reflected in the new closed captioning and audio description.
Some Broadway theatres are currently equipped to provide the new services. The majority of theatres will be offering the new services by January 1, 2018. The installation and availability of the technology industry-wide will be complete by Summer 2018.
Prior to every performance, a representative will be available to demonstrate the ease of activating the new technology. For complete, up-to-date information about services available at a specific theatre, visit www.theatreaccess.nyc.
"The advent of On Demand closed captioning on Broadway is a true game changer," said Barbara Kelley, Executive Director of the Hearing Loss Association of America. "I anticipate our members who had given up on live events because they could not understand dialogue and lyrics will happily return to Broadway."
"Improved closed captioning and audio description services are the latest advances in an ongoing effort to meet the needs of every theatergoer," said Broadway League Chairman Robert E. Wankel.
The Broadway League would like to acknowledge invaluable input from its Audience Services Advisory Board: Jerry Bergman, Founder and Chair, Hearing Accommodation Task Force of New York; Lisa Carling, Director of Theatre Development Fund Accessibility Programs; Tina Childress, Au.D. Audiologist, late-deafened adult and bilateral cochlear implant recipient; Toni Iacolucci, Hearing Loss Association of America; Beth Prevor, Executive Director, Hands On; Lewis Merkin, CDI, AEA-SAG/AFTRA, Anne Tomasetti; John Waldo, Advocacy Committee Chair, Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA).
- The programming and installation of the new technology begins following the opening night of a Broadway production. The estimated time for full implementation is one month.
- For concert presentations, unscripted performances, or productions with scripts designed to incorporate audience input, services may vary.
THE BROADWAY LEAGUE (Charlotte St. Martin, President), founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League's 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. The Broadway League has recently added a new category for International membership to collaborate with professionals from around the world who produce and present Broadway quality theatre. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry.
Key League programs and resources include: Kids' Night on Broadway, The Jimmys, Stars in the Alley, Internet Broadway Database (ibdb.com), Broadway.org, SpotlightonBroadway.com, Commercial Theater Institute (with Theatre Development Fund), as well as numerous conferences and forums for our members. Broadway Bridges, with the support of the New York City Department of Education, is aimed at giving every New York City public high school student the opportunity to see a Broadway show before graduation. TheatreAccessNYC (co-produced with TDF) is the one-stop website of accessible Broadway performances for theatergoers with disabilities.
Broadway.org is the League's official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC, on tour, and internationally. For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com, or follow @BroadwayLeague on Twitter and visit us at Facebook.com/BroadwayLeague.
Broadway theatres are filled with an exciting array of new and classic musicals and plays, providing the perfect experience for every audience. Great seats are available at every price point and are easy to buy online, by phone, or in person at theatre box offices. It's always the perfect time to see a show. Broadway performs every day of the week at multiple curtain times to accommodate every schedule.