Open Captioning is a general term used to describe text displayed simultaneous to live speech, dialogue or performance.
Also referred to as "OC," it is derived from its analogue, closed captioning, which began as text-based
access to broadcast programs. The term "caption" is used to define text associated with a picture. The
signal was "closed" because it required special equipment for viewing. By contrast, open captions do
not require the user to have any special equipment for viewing the text and are always "open" to anyone.
The terms have crossed over to non-broadcast venues whereby "open captioned" translates to mean open
for all to view and "closed captioned" to require the viewer to use specific equipment.
Open Captioning - during a performance of She Stoops To Conquer in
Open captioning was first introduced inside a theatre at the 1196 Paper Mill Playhouse production of Gigi, at
the request of Arlene Romoff, advocate for the Hard of Hearing, and author of "Hear Again - Back to Life with
a Cochlear Implant." Open captioning in theatre has gained world-wide attention and support for its universal
appeal, ease of integration and program enhancement. It has introduced a wave of new audiences and, especially,
offered opportunities to those who can finally return to the theatre.
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Captioned Performance of "Movin' Out" on Broadway,
sponsored by TDF. Photo by David LeShay
|Funding for the Open Captioning of this CSC performance is provided by the New
Jersey Theatre Alliance, the association
of professional theatres throughout the state of New Jersey.