Date of Award
Theater and Film
The COVID-19 pandemic shut the doors of theatres across the United States and the rest of the world. Live theatre came to a sudden halt as gatherings of people served as significant health risks. As live theatre performances became nearly obsolete, many theatre organizations were forced to creatively adapt to move their programming to a virtual format. Presenting theatre in a virtual format brings many challenges; however, it also brings opportunities for increased accessibility and access, particularly for individuals who are hard of hearing.
The following thesis explores hearing accessibility measures taken by theatre companies as they ventured into virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This thesis also explores how the levels of heightened accessibility that virtual theatre allowed for can be continued in live theatre. Many companies developed creative solutions to produce theatre virtually and offer accessible virtual programming; my experience as Executive Director of Ghostlight Repertory Theatre gave me direct experience with that. This thesis also discusses how the accessibility resources found in virtual theatre can be brought back into spaces of live theatre through the lens of my experience as the Executive Director of Ghostlight Repertory Theatre. My work over the past year with Ghostlight Repertory Theatre inspired and fulfilled a practical study. This thesis culminates in practical plans for Ghostlight Repertory Theatre to continue to allow for hearing accessibility in their performances as they look towards moving from solely virtual theatre programming to in-person programming.
Schuetz, Gianna, "Captions for COVID? Hearing Accessibility in Virtual "Zoom" Theatre" (2021). Honors Theses. 1762.
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