Derby Theatre receives funding to enhance performances for deaf and hard of hearing patrons
Derby Theatre is delighted to have received funding from both the national Big Lottery fund and locally-based Derbyshire Community Foundation to improve deaf access at the venue.
The joint funding, in the region of £10,000, has funded the installation of a brand new digital system in the theatre, top quality headsets and induction loop aerials. The new equipment will enable and enhance a visit to the theatre for deaf and hard of hearing patrons, ensuring Derby Theatre is even more accessible to a wider audience.
The brand new digital system and equipment will replace, and improve on, the existing infrared facility for patrons when seeing performances at Derby Theatre. The new Digital RF headsets are of the highest quality and offer crystal clear sound from every seat in the auditorium. For audience members with their own earphones, they can simply plug them into a discreet body pack where sound is then amplified through the new digital system. Patrons who prefer to use the T switch on their own hearing aid, there are induction loop aerials also available, which are worn loosely and comfortably around the neck. The assisted listening sets work on digital RF frequencies, the same clear, sharp sound as a digital radio, so no longer will interference be received when another audience member walks in front those wearing them or those using the service turn away from the stage
Debra Chantrill (Customer Services Manager, Derby Theatre) said: “We are thrilled to have acquired these sought after grants from both organisations and I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of the theatre and our audience members. I know it will make a huge difference to many, especially those who may re-discover their enjoyment of theatre, simply through being able to hear the performance more clearly again through the equipment we have been able to acquire. Our aim is always to make theatregoing as accessible to, and as enjoyable for, as many people as possible and we are confident that the new system and equipment will do just that, for existing and potential new visitors to the theatre who may require this service.”
As part of the application process, Derby Theatre consulted with a number of people involved in locally-based CamTAD, an organisation who campaign for tackling acquired deafness, to ask for their support, advice and feedback on the proposed application. CamTAD members said that a new system, which would help people with hearing difficulties to hear performances more clearly, would enable them to regain their confidence in visiting the theatre again. Speaking of non-reliable hearing systems in general, one lady said that she felt a part of her life was missing, by not being able to enjoy theatre as much as she would like to and that she hoped we were successful in our bid so that she could see performances secure in the knowledge that she will be able to comprehend the action once more.
Headsets, body packs and loop aerials can be acquired from Box Office free of charge on arrival at the theatre and, in most cases, do not need to be booked in advance.
For anyone wishing to test the new equipment, before doing so on a performance night/day, please call Debra Chantrill on 01332 593946 who will be more than happy to arrange this with you. Or simply call into Box Office and ask for Debra.