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Leeds Playhouse to trial ground-breaking smart caption glasses

Glasses developed by Leeds Beckett University Professor with the National Theatre will be tested throughout April.

Open Access Smart Capture Leeds Playhouse Leeds Beckett University Credit Cameron Slater
Open Access Smart Capture Leeds Playhouse Leeds Beckett University Credit Cameron Slater

Leeds Playhouse have revealed that pioneering new smart caption glasses — designed to transform access to theatre for audiences with hearing impairments — will be trialed at their forthcoming production of Around the World in 80 Days.

The glasses respond to the voices of the performers and display the text as it is spoken or sung on stage, including descriptions of music and sound effects.

Leeds Beckett University Professor Andrew Lambourne collaborated with the National Theatre and Accenture, their Partner for Innovation, on the development of a pioneering system to transmit captions to these innovative glasses automatically.

Smart caption glasses like these will be trailed from April. Credit James Bellorini

Smart caption glasses like these will be trailed from April. Credit James Bellorini

“The great thing about this system is that it can follow what the actors are saying and automatically put the caption out in time with the dialogue, which means it’s feasible to offer access to every performance,” explains Professor Andrew Lambourne.

“Because users can look through the glasses at whatever piece of the action they like and still see captions floating in space in front of them, it’s a far more immersive experience than looking at a screen to the side of the stage.”

Leeds Playhouse Executive Director Robin Hawkes adds: “At Leeds Playhouse we are continually exploring innovative ways to make theatre and performance more accessible. I look forward to seeing the impact these glasses will have.”

Around the World in 80 Days is at Leeds Playhouse’s Pop-Up theatre from 9th to 28th April.  Book online at leedsplayhouse.org.uk or call the Box office 0113 213 7700. To find out more about being involved in the trial, please contact the Playhouse directly.

 

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