National Open Caption Training Program

Expanding access locally and nationally.

For today's shows and audiences

and tomorrow's.

Please note: we are not currently accepting applications for partnerships.


TDF offers a limited number of two-year partnerships with professional regional theatres to sponsor open captioned performances and increase attendance by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The sponsorship is intended as a service in and of itself for people who are hard of hearing or deaf rather than a supplemental service to be offered in tandem with regularly scheduled sign language interpreted performances. 

TDF is specifically interested in partnering with new markets and partnerships are not intended to be used as a funding source for theatres already offering open captioning. Previous partners are also ineligible for new partnerships. No monies are exchanged between TDF and each venue but rather a mutually agreed upon sharing of responsibilities that are outlined below.

Congratulations to our 2019-2020 season partners:

1st year partners:
  • American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, CA
  • Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA
  • The Old Globe, San Diego, CA
  • Boulder Ensemble Theater Company, Boulder, CO
  • New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA
  • Portland Stage, Portland, ME

2nd year partners:

  • The Second City, Chicago, IL
  • Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT
  • Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA
  • Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA

TDF 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 Inc., for any OC sponsorship as we have a long-standing partnership with the company in modeling best practices on a national level. c2 is specific to TDF partnerships.

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.


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:


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.


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 TDF.”

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 sign language 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

Professional 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 season, offered on the first Saturday matinee of each show's run.

Second Year Partnership

Professional 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.

Theatres applying for partnerships should wait until they have a good idea of their 2021 - 2022 season. Theatres applying for a second year partnership for the 2021-2022 season should wait to submit their letters until two audience surveys have been completed and analyzed. Applying theatres will be notified by June 28, 2021. If a theatre was accepted for a 2021-2022 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 19, 2021. 

Letters May Be Sent To:

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

Or submitted via  email.