Going to the theatre

Attending the theatre is becoming more accessible for deaf children and young people with more captioned, interpreted and integrated communication than ever. If you are a theatre looking to make your productions more deaf-friendly have a look at the options below.


Captions for shows at the theatre are displayed in a digital unit box near the stage.

A qualified captioner prepares the captions in advance, then cues them ‘live’ as the action unfolds on stage.

Captions are a great way of making sure that a deaf audience can understand what is being said on stage, making trips to the theatre accessible for deaf children of reading age and upwards.

Sometimes theatres will advertise their captioned shows on their websites.

You can also find out about captioned shows at participating theatres all over the country at http://www.stagetext.org where captioned shows and productions are listed on their “What’s On?” page.


BSL interpreted shows

Some performances at the theatre have a British sign language interpreter at the side of the stage interpreting what is going on.

BSL interpreters should be fully qualified and fully briefed beforehand, participating in rehearsals.  

BSL interpreted shows by deaf friendly organisations signed up to our pledge can be found on the NDCS events pages. You can also find some performances listed at https://signedculture.org.uk/whats-on-diary/.



Sign / caption integrated shows

There are also performances that are sign or caption integrated.

This usually means that British sign language and / or captions are part of the show, and used alongside the spoken word within the format of the show itself. 

Sign integrated / caption integrated shows by deaf friendly organisations signed up to our pledge can be found on the NDCS events pages.

You can also find some performances listed on the Signed Culture What's On diary at https://www.signedculture.org.uk/whats-on-diary



Deaf theatre groups

There are theatre companies, groups and clubs who are run by people who are deaf and the actors are mostly deaf themselves too.

The shows that these organisations put on are usually completely signed in BSL and often have youth drama groups associated with them as well.



London Theatres

If you are in London, you can check http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/access/ for
Captioned and Sign interpreted shows in the London area.

Other useful websites:



Technology support

There is lots of technology available to make it easier for a deaf child or young person to follow what is happening in a busy and noisy place, including the Theatre.

 See our make it easier for your deaf child to communicate in noisy places page.


BSL for behind the scenes at the Theatre

Tech Theatre BSL have a website which includes a glossary of technical theatre terms and jargon which have been translated into BSL.

 See their website for full details:

 Tech Theatre BSL Glossary