Geva Theatre Center is committed to providing "an enjoyable, high quality theatre experience for all patrons." As part of their accessibility programming, Geva is partnering with two organizations – Theatre Development Fund's TAP Plus and the Hearing Loss Association of America, Rochester Chapter – to expand and improve services for patrons with hearing loss by adding open captioning services and a new assistive listening system.
Open Captioning is a general term used to describe text displayed simultaneous to live speech, dialogue or performance that does not require the user to have special equipment for viewing the text. Visible on a display next to the stage, it is intended to be an alternate form of accessibility for the estimated population of 30 million hard of hearing and deaf in the United States, and specifically the 98% who do not use American Sign Language.
Geva will provide open captioning during the first Saturday matinee performance of the six productions in the 2012-2013 Wilson Mainstage Season, and during the first Sunday matinee performance of A Christmas Carol. Open captioning is being provided, in part, by a grant from Theatre Development Fund's TAP Plus program in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts. Individual tickets and subscriptions for these performances are now on sale at (585) 232-Geva (4382) or www.gevatheatre.org.
In addition, Geva will replace its aging infrared assistive listening system with an expanded system of 48 Portable FM Receivers, a number of which will be compatible with hearing aid T-switches through a personal induction loop. To improve the clarity of the broadcast signal, Geva has upgraded the microphones providing the audio feed. Assistive listening devices are available free of charge for audience members of both the Wilson Mainstage and Fielding Nextstage. The Hearing Loss Association of America, Rochester Chapter is the Assistive Listening Underwriter, with additional support from the Mark and Bobbie Hargrave Clarity Fund and a gift in honor of J. Stuart & Phyllis I. MacDonald.
The Rochester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, one of the oldest and most experienced HLAA local chapters in the country, was established in 1983 to help people living in western New York who are living with hearing loss.