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Cinema to pilot smart caption glasses developed by the National Theatre

Open Access Smart Capture glasses. Photo: Cameron Slater Open Access Smart Capture glasses. Photo: Cameron Slater
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Smart caption glasses, launched by the National Theatre for D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences, are to have their first pilot in a cinema, as part of a film festival in London.

The glasses are aimed at D/deaf audiences and offer personal captioning, flashing the production’s dialogue in front of the wearer’s eyes as the actors say it.

They were developed by the NT and introduced in 2018, but will now be used at the London Short Film Festival for screenings of works by emerging directors, including Maxine Peake and Lena Headey. They will be used across four screens at the BFI Southbank.

Jonathan Suffolk, project director of the smart caption glasses at the NT, said there had always been a “vision that the glasses could transform access to the arts, entertainment and culture more widely”.

“This feels like a really exciting step towards that ambition,” he added.

The cinema pilot is being supported by the NT, with the BFI Audience Fund, BFI Southbank, Epson and the UK Cinema Association’s technology challenge fund.

Last year, Leeds Playhouse became the first regional theatre to use the technology.

Leeds Playhouse first regional theatre to use smart caption glasses

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