Stagetext is a charity that works with venues across England to improve accessibility to the arts for deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing audiences.
Campaign Collective has been supporting Stagetext on its annual campaign Captioning Awareness Week since 2018.
The campaign provides a focal point for the charity to raise awareness of the issues facing deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing audiences, and to encourage arts venues to put on subtitled performances during the week.
The objectives were to: raise awareness of the week in the media; engage venues to publicly support the campaign; and encourage attendance at events that are celebrating the week.
Over both years, we have focused on media cut-through and engaging venues and stakeholders. This has involved messaging, press releases, case studies and media sell-in, while working with host venues to help disseminate the campaign messages through their own PR and social media channels (many of whom have very large audiences here).
We also used the opportunity to position the CEO Melanie Sharpe as an expert on championing deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing access in the arts. And we worked with case studies to tell the story of why it is important for venues to be inclusive and provide subtitled performances for its audiences.
Over the four years we have secured around 600 pieces of media coverage and high levels of engagement among venues and stakeholders. Highlights include features of the campaign on ITV, BBC, Sky News, a leading article on the BBC website, and articles in the likes of the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and Huffington Post. The campaign was also covered by the Press Association in 2018 and 2021, resulting in widespread regional media coverage.
Working with the venues was important, and we secured an opportunity with National Theatre showing Joey (of Warhorse fame) supporting the campaign – which was subsequently shared widely on social media. Public support was also secured from likes of Donmar Warehouse, British Museum, the Barbican, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Royal Exchange Manchester.