Strengthened Accessibility in the Theater
Research has shown a trip to the theater or a Broadway show can benefit a wide range of people in lasting and unique ways that make a huge impact. But how can we ensure the performing arts are becoming more accessible to those student groups who previously may not have been able to enjoy them? Broadway Collection shows and GalaPro are leading the charge.
Broadway Collection shows, in partnership with GalaPro, have developed a smartphone app that provides accessibility for theatergoers who experience hearing loss or are non-English-speaking, broadening the New York City Broadway experience to more student groups than ever.
Utilizing groundbreaking voice recognition technology, closed captioning and audio description will be synchronized with live action on Broadway stages. If an actor takes a pause or switches lines, it will be reflected via the GalaPro app to ensure the audience member doesn’t miss a thing.
A number of Broadway Collection shows have already begun implementing GalaPro, including A Bronx Tale, The Phantom of the Opera, Anastasia, Chicago, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, School of Rock and The Band’s Visit. Each show provides captioning in English for the hearing impaired, and some have begun to roll out translation services in Simple Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.
“The introduction of closed captioning and translation services through GalaPro is bringing the Broadway experience to new heights and opens shows up to a much wider audience than ever before,” said Bob Hoffman, Vice President of Broadway Inbound. “Not only does it give those with hearing loss an opportunity to enjoy the magic of a Broadway show, it can also be used by travelers coming into New York City who speak another language. This type of access is revolutionizing the theater industry entirely and we’re so excited to be here from the very beginning.”
Prior to each performance, a representative will be available to assist with connecting your students to the app and demonstrating the ease of use. The captioning system is only accessible once the student puts his or her phone in airplane mode—to prevent any additional notifications or disruptions—and the captions appear on a dim, black background. A plus: This new technology is provided to theatergoers free of charge.
Visit www.galapro.com to learn more.
Written by Sarah Suydam, a Staff Writer at Teach & Travel.