Actress and Writer.
A full-time professional-training student at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's BA Performance.
Currently Freelancer.
Founder/Artist Director of Turtléar.

BSL performance, Audio Describing & Captions

I would like to share with you guys on my blog about my experience of BSL performance, Audio Describing & Captions.

Do you think it's much easier for deaf/Hard of hearing? Let me tell you, it is not.

BSL Performance

I would like to point it out that BSL performance are pains in neck. I'm serious, I'm not in the tennis match to see the ball throw from the side to other side, back to fro again. That's how I feel when I'm in theatre - BSL interpreters usually to stand on the side, far away from the centre of stage. Hat off to these interpreters who did their best, however, it isn't good enough for deaf audience - we're paying to watch the performance, not the tennis match. Sometimes I can feel that the audience with no problem with their hearing make a murmuring: "See this girl? She's looking at wrong direction, the stage's right over there!" Well, that's me to watching the interpreter!! Artist directors, message for you: interpreters aren't there to spoil your "art" on the stage, they're there to ensure deaf audience are relax and enjoying their view. I may be wrong but there's not enough deaf theatregoers because they can't be arse to watch the interpreters and actors in the tennis match.

How to solve this problem? Get an interpreter in the middle or walk-through the performance. I can't tell you how much happy I am when I attending and watch the performance, relax my shoulders and watch all the actors ON THE stage without worrying about the interpreters stand miles and miles away from the stage. For example, the shows I attended their productions: Graeae Theatre Company's The Iron Man (and Threepenny Opera at next month), Deafinitely Theatre Company's 4Plays 2013 and TWO, Julie McNamara's The Knitting Circle and Fingersmiths Co's FROZEN. They are ensure that the interpreters will not to stand away from the stage... These interpreters or actors who learning to signing on stage are in the zone of the stage! THAT'S WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!!! I also take the hat off to Chicken Shed's The Night Before Christmas have more than 5 actors who are signing on the stage. It blew me away with their performance but their time were wrong. I can give you an example... When speaking actor talking, signing-actor signing... However, the speaking actor finishing to speak, another actor start to talking as another signing-actor start to signing but first signing-actor continue signing. That's how I've missed another signing-actor signing. All they need is keep time, let signing-actor finish her/his signing to give the deaf audience time to look at another signing-actor to start signing. Hope it make any sense?

See what I mean? Tennis match only for the ball to flying about, not actors!! Actors are actors, on the stage - not on the tennis match's ground.

And in Birds of Paradise Theatre Company's Wendy Hoose... Where's BSL performance? On the 16inch screen. It was a very baaaaad idea. The BSL screen was not LIVE, record the signing the lines on the video. But what's about that BSL signing continue to signing when the actors missed out the lines or didn't translate that actors been to add up the lines? Again, the screen was still far away from the actors' activity. So I choose to ignore the screen and read the caption instead. But, I'm thinking of deaf audiences who are prefer BSL Performance than captions, they would be very angry, or even very rage. For the better, take the screen down and put nearby actors' regular spot! Again, I want to point it out... Why didn't BSL signing to translate the audio-describing' own words? They were dropping, which are not very good for deaf audience.

Audio Describing

That's amazing technical for people with usher, lost the sight or profoundly blind. Sadly, it's did not suit for deaf-blind. Whatever, the audio-describing explains to these blind people the actors' movements, what's props they use/taking and go on. Someone told me that audio-describing in cinema are VERRRRRY annoying ever. But I point it out that its accessible for blind people, not for people with superb eyeballs sight.

One example I love audio-describing in Birds of Paradise's Wendy Hoose... The caption translate exact what the audio-describing was saying (but not on BSL screen? Interest). So hilarious, let me tell ya! Very filthy, no I'm not tell you any furthermore because they will be back in Autumn 2014! Keep look out for their production and ensure you won't miss it!! I will ensure to ignore BSL screen at next time.


I love captions, me. If it started years ago when I was in my teenage, I would've loathe the captions. Thankful, I'd taught myself English and to becoming love English more. However, I would like to point it out (and poke it reallllly hardest in furiously)... Why did Citizen's The Jungle Book have a captions on TOP of the stage, near the top of the curtain? Why?! But the actors' on the floor, not top like as bats?! Again, same as tennis match but at upside - I looked up to read the captions, the audience behind me must've thought there's actors possible right up there or I gone too mental!! Too horrible experience, not very relax while watch any performances like that! Artists directors, deaf viewers use the subtitles on TV, as the subtitles' show on bottom of the screen. Do the same thing on your productions!

Captions in the cinema (and performances too)... Why didn't it to put on every day/anytime?! What if I'm on date (just image it because I'm still single!) and to attending into the cinema but it turn out no captions are available which to turn our date down? Same thing to children of deaf adults - "Cant go in today because the captions' not on today." No fun for the kids! even to any deaf people. People with superb hearing can walk in or out of cinema whenever they're like. What's about us deaf and hard of hearing people? If cinema reckon walk in with the discount for deaf people would've be very helpful, well, think again. How to solve this problem? Well, if deaf people would like to see any movie(s)/performance, walk in and say "I'm deaf and I would like to have a ticket to see *the name of movie*" and the staff switch the captions on for deaf viewers, it would've be massive fantastic! Same thing go to audio-describing by give them the headphones so they will to listening the describing.

Sara Cox made a complain in her radio studio that the caption in the cinema was so spoil at her view on the film's screen! And deaf people complain about her bad attention on captions for deaf/hard of hearing, she sent a message for these viewers with an apology THROUGH the radio. Brilliant, deaf people can hear her apology through the radio(!)

Please, I begging you, make more accessible for us deaf and hard of hearing people! And also for people with wheelchairs and people with sight problems. The (very soon!) future, the better accessible for all.

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