Everyman Theatre to offer personal closed caption devices

Everyman Theatre to offer personal closed caption devices (Courtesy Everyman Theatre, Handout photo)

Starting next week with its production of Nina Raine's "Tribes," starring deaf actor John McGinty, Everyman Theatre will offer personal handheld closed captioning devices for all performances.

In a statement released Wednesday, founding artistic director Vincent Lancisi said that the company, "an early adopter of this new technology," is "committed to embodying the promise of our name – Everyman Theatre."

"For the first time – long overdue – we are able to invest in technology that says to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities: 'We value you and we want you to be a part of the Everyman family' ... [We] are proud to be among the first regional theaters to offer this to audiences," Lancisi said.

Akin to supertitles used for providing translations in opera performances (especially those at the Met, where they are displayed on individual, seat-back screens), the closed caption devices at Everyman will transmit the dialogue in sync with the stage action.

Patrons will be given complimentary iPods to use during performances. The iPods will come with an adjustable seat-mount. Screen filters will be installed to help keep the light on the devices from becoming obtrusive to others in the theater. (An app for Apple devices will also be available; an Android app is under development.)

A video on the Everyman Web site includes a short demonstration of the closed caption devices.

"Tribes," a play about a young deaf man raised in a hearing family, runs May 28 to June 22.