Sewickley Theater to feature films with subtitles on Wednesday
Sewickley’s Tull Family Theater is trying out a new pilot program designed to improve the movie experience for its customers, especially those who are hearing-impaired.
Starting Wednesday and every week throughout the summer, captions will appear at the bottom of the screen for every movie that airs that day.
The program, called Open Caption Wednesdays, is “an ideal way to enhance the cinematic experience for those who are hard of hearing or just don’t want to miss a single word,” according to a statement.
“To our knowledge, the Tull Family Theater is the only one in the state – perhaps even across the country – to devote a full day each week to open-caption screenings of every film that airs on all screens,” said Executive Director Carolina Pais. -Barreto Thor.
Films showing on the program’s inaugural day include “In the Heights”, “12 Mighty Orphans” and “F9: The Fast Saga”.
In the case of “In the Heights” and other musical films, the captioning includes both dialogue and song lyrics, said Karen Ferrick-Roman, director of communications and education for the theater. .
âIndependent theaters and art houses tend to have older audiences, and that’s certainly true for The Tull,â Thor said. âWe think of our elders and try to improve the experience of our people. ”
âHearing problems affect all ages, but the National Institute on Aging reports that one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss and almost half of those 75 or older have difficulty hearing – even if they don’t admit it, âaccording to information on the theater’s website. “Census data shows the Greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area is home to nearly 475,000 people over the age of 65 – a higher percentage of seniors per capita than the state (10% more) and the nation (25% Furthermore).”
Capture the nuances
âOur international students and residents appreciate the clarity that closed captioning offers,â Thor said. “As a non-native English speaker, I have always enjoyed open captions because they capture the nuances that are so easily missed in a quick dialogue.”
This is true for all viewers, she added, when the dialogue is cut off or the sound quality is not ideal.
The program is piloted until August, with continuation thereafter depending on public response and funding.
No special software or other equipment is needed to deliver subtitles, Thor said.
âMost of the new releases come with the option of in-film captioning, just like television,â she said. “It just needs to be turned on.”
The theater has already received a positive response from literacy groups, schools, hearing impaired organizations and individual clients who have been made aware of the closed captioning program, Thor said.
While assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired and audio description devices for the visually impaired remain available free of charge every day, Closed Wednesdays go beyond ADA requirements to create an experience. stronger community, according to the press release.
âEveryone will be better able to enjoy the movie together,â Thor said.
The theater’s sensory screenings – a bespoke cinematic experience aimed at young people with autism and special needs – are also set to return this summer after being suspended due to the pandemic.
Founded in 2011, the theater at 418 Walnut St. is home to a film arts organization that offers a wide range of films and genres, including new releases, classics, documentaries, educational and foreign films, and arts, music, operas and plays. On the screen. It also offers free programming to underserved populations and the elderly.
Information on movie times and ticket prices can be found at thetullfamilytheater.org.