The boss of Redhill's Harlequin Theatre and Cinema has said she is “thrilled” it is now screening subtitled and audio described screenings, following the installation of a new digital projector.
Elizabeth Smith, theatre manager at the Harlequin, said she couldn't wait for customers to try out the new screenings which make it possible for deaf and hard of hearing people, blind and visually impaired people, to enjoy the cinema experience with their family and friends. With almost every popular cinema release now available with subtitles and audio description, she said The Harlequin is thrilled to be offering the service to deaf and blind people throughout the borough. An audio described performance is a standard screening, which is ideal for visually impaired people. It works by playing a recorded narration, explaining what is happening on screen during gaps in the dialogue, through personal headphones. Ms Smith said thanks to the installation of the new digital projector in The Harlequin’s cinema last September, the quality of the audio description and subtitling is excellent. She said: “The audio description accurately describes the films’ sequences alongside the dialogue, making the cinema experience reminiscent and detailed, which helps the cinema-goer to build up a mental image of the film. “We can’t wait for customers to experience it for themselves.” Closed Caption screenings are a text version of the spoken part of a film, similar to subtitles. Ms Smith said: “Our Sony Entertainment Access glasses will project captions onto the glasses and appear to float ten feet in front of the user. “They are designed for customers who are profoundly deaf so that they can ‘watch’ a film with ‘subtitles’ whilst everyone else watches the screen which displays no subtitles on it.”
She continued: “We are hoping to screen our first closed caption screening in the next few months, but if customers would like to experience the glasses for themselves, we have trailers available which we can organise a viewing for.” She added a free membership is available, which will allow customers to book one of the six available audio/closed caption units in advance. The membership is valid for one year and customers will also receive a weekly e-newsletter, letting them know what screenings are coming up in the future. For more details call The Harlequin Box Office on 01737 276500. Future films coming to The Harlequin, all audio described, include How to Train Your Dragon 2 (PG), Chef (15) and Begin Again (15). Website: www.harlequintheatre.co.uk