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Cochlear Implants, hearing loss and more! I carry an interesting perspective: someone who had normal hearing growing up, lost it all slowly as an adult, then regained it with cochlear implants. So I'm deaf, but I can hear - a true miracle. If you'd like to know more about me and my bilateral cochlear implant experiences right away, my two books have a wealth of information - see the links below. Check out the list of upcoming events too - perhaps one day we'll get to meet!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Captioned Theater - A TRU Story

Bob Ost presenting Humanitarian Award to Arlene

They say that one picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the above picture is of Bob Ost, Executive Director of  Theater Resources Unlimited, a professional organization for theater producers, presenting me with TRU's Humanitarian Award for my captioned live theater advocacy work. One look at TRU's website and you'll know what this organization is about - everything to do with professional theater. That photo was taken in 2008 at their annual "TRU Love" benefit luncheon. As you can see from the photo below, the event was open captioned (see the LED screen to the right of the picture?)  And as Bob pointed out to the audience of mostly theater people, nobody would miss a word of the lyrics with those captions scrolling. (Assistive listening devices - ALDs - were supplied as well.)

Arlene giving acceptance speech while captions scroll on the LED screen
A curious thing happened the next year, 2009, as Bob was preparing for the annual TRU Love benefit once again. He realized that if TRU didn't provide open captioning, then Arlene and other people with hearing loss wouldn't be able to attend! And Bob also realized that people with  hearing loss don't only want to attend events related to hearing loss - they want to attend what everyone else is attending, too.  SOOOOO - the 2009 TRU Love benefit luncheon provided open captioning again, even though nobody with hearing loss was being honored that year.  So I went - along with a bunch of others with and without hearing loss - not only because it was captioned, but because this event is really super!  There's a wonderful cocktail hour, then a gourmet luncheon, and top notch professional entertainment - in addition to the award presentations.  AND - and this is very important - it supported this amazing organization that "got it" about people with hearing loss being able to attend a mainstream event "with dignity" - and the need for captioning in the theater.  

Some of the entertainment at the 2008 TRU Love benefit luncheon

So another curious thing happened in 2010 - again.  TRU made sure to have open captioning for its TRU Love benefit luncheon again, even though no one with hearing loss was being honored.  Bob was committed to making this event accessible to people with hearing loss.  And now, the "regulars" with  hearing loss returned for another delightful afternoon of food, drink and professional entertainment - while hobnobbing with REAL theater people - producers, actors, writers, and I imagine a few angels as well. This event is beyond just being accessible or a captioned theater performance - this is a REAL New York theater experience!

The 2011 TRU Love benefit luncheon planning is now in the works - NOVEMBER 6, 2011 - and once again TRU plans to have open captioning and ALDs.  With the cost of a ticket at about $100 (higher levels of support available), that's a pretty good deal for cocktails, lunch and entertainment - all without missing a word.   And supporting this amazing organization that educates the entire theater community about the benefits of captioning - PRICELESS!

If you'd like to thank Bob for his amazing work, just email him at TRUnltd@aol.com and tell him Arlene sent you.

1 comment:

  1. I am honored to help the community in whatever way possible, and I thank Joan Liman (TRU board member) for bringing Arlene and the issue of Open Captioning to my awareness. We will continue to provide OC and ALD for our annual benefit, and I also hope to get funding so we can offer OC at our play reading series every year and be more of the inclusive organization we would like to be.