What is Open Captioning?
As you can see in the pictures above, Open Captioning displays the spoken word, sound effects, and any other audio portion of the production in text form. Captions appear on the captioning display in real-time synchronized to the action by an experienced captioner. Captioning display screens may be located onstage or anywhere above, below, or beside the stage depending on the specific theatre and the design and staging of the show. Open Captioning is a type of “universal access” because it is available to anyone regardless of whether they have hearing loss or not. In fact, audiences without any hearing loss often find Open Captioning very helpful. You may miss a word when text is spoken or sung from off-stage, due to a strong accent or dialect, or if English is not your first language. In any case, Open Captioning offers a way for you to not miss a sound.
How does Open Captioning work and what does it look like?
You can see examples of Open Captioning in several other venues in the photo at the top of this page. An LED captioning screen displays the the spoken word, sound effects, and any other audio portion of the production in text form. Captions appear on the display in real-time synchronized to the action by an experienced captioner. The location of the screen may change with each production depending upon set size, blocking and other artistic considerations.
Who can use Open Captioning?
Everyone! While Open Captioning may be the only viable way for some patrons with severe hearing loss to enjoy the text of a play, even those with no hearing loss often find Open Captioning very helpful. You may miss a word when text is spoken or sung from off-stage, due to a strong accent or dialect, or if English is not your first language. In any case, Open Captioning offers a way for you to not miss a sound.
Will other patrons be disturbed by the captioning screen?
We try to position the captioning screen in each of our theatres just outside the “stage picture”. For those not using the service, the screen can easily be “tuned out” while those who need to read the captions can easily watch both the captions and the action on stage. Other theatres have found that patrons who can see the screen but did not plan to use Open Captioning often report finding it very useful. Due to the various configurations of our theatres and the design of individual productions, not all seats can necessarily see the captioning screen. For those not appropriately seated to see the text, the caption screen simply looks like a black box and blends into the background.
How can I buy a ticket for Open Captioning?
Single tickets may be purchased as they go on sale for each production. Season subscribers can get seats by subscribing to the third Sunday matinee and requesting Open Captioning Seating. Open Captioning is scheduled for the third Sunday matinee for each of our productions. For each production, special seating is reserved to provide the best sight line for those wishing to use this service. These reserved seats are only available through the Clarence Brown Box Office 865 974-5161. Just mention that you are interested in Open Captioning. For our Carousel and Lab Theatre shows, tickets may be purchased through any outlet including online as seating is general admission. For these shows we recommend arriving 30 minutes before showtime for the best seating..
Do I need to buy a special ticket for Open Captioning?
You don’t need a special ticket, but for our season productions you do need to tell the Box Office when you order your tickets that you wish to use Open Captioning so that they seat you in a place for good viewing of the screen.
I’m a subscriber. Can I change my ticket to the Open Captioning performance?
Yes. Call the Box Office at 865 974-5161 and they will help you exchange your ticket.
Are there wheelchair seats in the Open Captioning viewing area?
Yes. Just tell the Box Office that you need a Wheelchair seat in the Open Captioning viewing area when you purchase your ticket.
Will I have to use a device or special equipment?
No, equipment is required, just a seat in the Open Captioning viewing area. For the MainStage, check with the Box Office 865 974-5161 to verify that you are in the viewing area. For the Lab and Carousel, seats in the viewing area are available first come, first served and are indicated with the symbol (shown left).
Does a ticket for Open Captioning cost extra?
No. Tickets to sit in the Open Captioning section are the same price as all other seats.
Do I need to arrive early for Open Captioning?
We do recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to showtime for Lab and Carousel Theatre productions as these theaters are General Admission and seating is first-come-first-served. For the MainStage, early arrival is not required, although we do recommend that all patrons arrive AT LEAST 20 minutes before the performance to allow time to park, get to the theatre, and find your seat.
Will there still be Assistive Listening Devices available?
Yes. Please see our Assisted Listening page for more information.
Will Open Captioning be available for every show at the CBT?
Open Captioning will be available for one performance of all shows produced by the Clarence Brown Theatre itself. Look for the Open Caption symbol on our calendars for specifics or see the schedule below. Shows produced by other organizations may or may not have Open Captioning available depending on the specifics of the event.
2022/2023 Open Captioned Performances
- A Christmas Carol – December 11
- Trouble in Mind – February 26
- Men On Boats – April 2
- HAIR – May 7
Why is the CBT using Open Captioning?
I have more questions. Can I talk with someone about Open Captioning?
“As a hard-of-hearing adult, I always “missed” things. I haven’t attended a movie theater for years because of this. Having the open captioning turned the CBT from a great to an exceptional experience for me! My guest, who was very pleased for me, did not find the captioning detracting in any way.”
— Sharon M. CBT Patron
“Although I don’t require the captioning, it was helpful to catch some lines which I did not hear and/or understand especially with the British accent. The captioning was definitely not a distraction and added to the enjoyment of the play.”
— Joy H., CBT Patron