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Access for deaf audiences in "Telethon"

Telethon features integrated captioning and moments of integrated BSL interpretation/translation.

Almost all of Telethon is captioned, using creative captioning as part of the video design. There are a few moments of audience interaction in the piece too, and these are interpreted by a performer onstage, who uses BSL as part of their character. This hearing performer is also a registered BSL interpreter.

Our BSL-fluent performer plays the role of a children’s TV presenter who incorporates BSL in their children’s programmes. Because BSL is primarily present as a character feature, rather than to provide access, Telethon often uses both captions and BSL interpretation. The captions only drop-out in unscripted moments, where the actor is interpreting live conversations between the actors and audience.

The creative team of Telethon includes Emily Howlett, a deaf Access Consultant who is helping us ensure that the piece is successful in its aim of being more accessible to deaf audiences. We’re also working with Brian Duffy, a deaf director and BSL consultant who is helping our BSL performer make choices in their use of BSL, and create the BSL ‘script’. Brian will also consult on how the BSL use fits with the character, and the overall story of the piece.

Telethon also features a BSL-using deaf performer in a pre-recorded role.