Charity receives funding to make more theatres in the heart of London accessible for deaf people


A charity set up to improve access to performing arts for hard of hearing people has received funding to expand their work across theatres in the City of London. Stagetext has been awarded a grant of £6,800 by the City of London Corporation’s new Central Grants Programme to develop its services to provide access for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to theatres in the Square Mile.

The Wizard of Oz

Stagetext captions for The Wizard of Oz at the Lowry. Photo: Ben Blackhall

The funding will support Stagetext on their journey to making theatre in London more inclusive. Stagetext is a charity which provides captioning and live subtitling services at theatres and other arts venues to make their activities accessible to people with hearing difficulties. The charity will use the grant to expand its work in the City and to train more organisations in the use of their captioning and live subtitling services.

The project will provide theatre staff with deaf awareness training and showcase to venues the types of captioning and live subtitling options that can be used at theatrical events and concerts. Stagetext will work with the theatres to develop capacity and improve their offer for deaf people.

Nick Bodger, Head of Cultural and Visitor Development at the City of London Corporation, said:

“It is fantastic that we are able to support such an inspirational charity to expand its work in the City. This programme will promote access to help everyone to participate in the City’s cultural offering by training venue staff across the Square Mile in the benefits of captioning and live subtitling. It will improve access to these facilities for people with hearing problems and make the City’s venues more inclusive. Culture enriches us all, unlocking imagination, creativity and innovation and we want to ensure that this is available to all our workers, residents and visitors.”

Melanie Sharpe, Chief executive at Stagetext, added:

“Stagetext is thrilled that the City of London Corporation has chosen to support our work. With the Corporation’s help we will be able to grow awareness of our services and provide more events within the Square Mile, meaning many more deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people will have access to arts and culture. We are looking forward to getting started on the project with our partners and making real change happen.”

Stagetext  is one of eight London organisations to become the first to receive funding from the Central Grants Programme, a new grants scheme supporting community, cultural, environmental, educational and employment projects in the Square Mile and beyond.

This round of grants from the fund, run by the City of London Corporation, focussed on cultural projects with funding totalling £47,332.

The City of London is one of the great cultural hubs of the capital, attractingover 6.3 million people from around the world every year, with a wealth of things to see and do and a vibrant mix of artistic activity. During 2015/2016 there were 3,910 events across the City.

The City Corporation is one of the UK’s major funders of culture and heritage and directly supports a range of institutions and activities in these fields. It invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds and is the country’s biggest funder of culture after the Government, the BBC and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Through the Central Grants Programme’s “Inspiring London through culture” theme, the City of London Corporation has funded a wide range of organisations, large and small, which enrich the Square Mile’s cultural offer.