National Open Captioning Initiative

Let TDF Sponsor Your Open-Captioned Performances
TDF offers a limited number of two-year regional theatre partnerships to sponsor open-captioned performances and increase attendance by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These sponsorships are intended as a service in and of itself for people who are hard of hearing or deaf. It is not intended as a supplemental service to be offered in tandem with regularly scheduled audio-description interpreted performances.
TDF is specifically interested in partnering with new markets and partnerships and are not intended to be used as a funding source for theatres already offering open captioning. No monies are exchanged between TDF and each venue but rather a mutually agreed upon sharing of responsibilities that are outlined below.

TDF is currently accepting applications for theatres interested in being considered for a National Open Captioning Partnership during the 2015 - 2016 season. The deadline for first and second year theatres applying is April 15, 2015.


Theatre Development Fund Provides:


Cost of Service

Payment of expenses for contracting open captioning services through a professional theatre captioning company, which includes captioning fees as well as any travel expenses incurred by the caption operators during the preparation process and performance. Our service provider is c2, Caption Coalition, for any OC sponsorship as we have a long-standing partnership with them in modeling best practices on a national level. c2 is specific to TDF funding.

Assistance With Promotion

Listing of TDF sponsored open-captioned performances at the partnering venue on TDF's website, with links for ticket purchasing; and publicizing these accessible performances through mail and email newsletters to TDF theatregoers with hearing loss.

Expertise

Readiness to share experience on audience development, equipment options and funding; and to serve as a liaison, when needed—between producing entity and venue in regard to queries that may arise.


Partnering Venue Provides:


Tickets

Designation of a minimum of 25 seats in the front orchestra, side section, within comfortable reading distance of the captioning unit, made available to people with hearing loss and sold through the venue box office.

Marketing

Acknowledgment to TDF as caption provider in print and website listings notifying the public of these accessible performances; and on production credit page, in same size and format as union acknowledgments, acknowledgment to TDF, with TDF logo, substantially as follows: “Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund.”

TDF Credit

Insertion of one-page program stuffer (copy supplied by TDF) listing appropriate acknowledgments; and distribution of TDF-supplied questionnaires to a random sampling of at least 50 audience members on the captioning side of the orchestra for two TDF sponsored open-captioned performances, several months apart, during the first season of a possible two-year pilot project.

Please Note: Should the partnering venue fail to uphold any of these provisions, TDF reserves the right to terminate the partnership at any time. Although TDF leaves the ticket cost of each sponsored open-captioned performance up to individual theatres, we strongly recommend parity in pricing. For example, if a theatre offers discounted tickets for audio-description interpreted and audio-described performances, then, if at all possible, the same policy should be extended to its open-captioned performances.


How To Apply:


First Year Partnership

Theatres interested in being considered for a partnership should send a letter of inquiry that briefly outlines the following:
  • Commitment to providing better access for people with disabilities.
  • Indication of strong community support for open captioning; e.g., letter(s) from members of the
  • community with hearing loss requesting open captioning and/or letter(s) from local HLAA chapter(s).
  • Proposed season schedule of open-captioned performances with dates, times and productions
  • listed, preferably in a series; e.g., one open-captioned performance of each production in the Broadway series, offered on the first Saturday matinee of each show's run.

Second Year Partnership

Theatres wishing to continue their partnership for a second year should send support materials including the following:
  • Examples of first year OC performance marketing efforts; e.g., postcards, webpage, e-mails, etc.,
  • and results from two audience surveys for OC performances, taken several months apart.
  • Indication of strong community support; e.g., box office numbers citing the number of tickets
  • purchased in the open captioning section for each OC performance and letter(s) of support from patrons with hearing loss.
  • Proposed season schedule of open-captioned performances with dates, times and productions
  • listed, preferably in a series; e.g., one open-captioned performance of each production in the Broadway Series, offered on the first Saturday matinee of each show's run.

The deadline for first and second year theatres interested in being considered for a National Theatre Open Captioning Partnership during the 2015 - 2016 season is April 15, 2015. Theatres applying for partnerships should wait until they have a good idea of their 2015 - 2016 season. Theatres applying for a second year partnership for the 2015-2016 season should wait to submit their letters until two audience surveys have been completed and analyzed. Applying theatres will be notified by June 30, 2015. If a theatre was accepted for a 2015-2016 partnership, we asked that the signed letter of agreement from TDF confirming the agreed upon schedule of open-captioned performances be returned no later than July 17, 2015. 

Letters May Be Sent To:

Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs
Theatre Development Fund
520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 801
New York, NY 10018

For more information, click to send an email, or call (212) 912-9770, ext. *380.

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