Deafblind actor receives apology after captioning device user accused of recording play

A deafblind actor and activist has been charged with recording a performance of Hadesvilleas she used a captioning device to access the Broadway musical.

Samantha Coleman was watching the production at the Walter Kerr Theater from the front row on Wednesday when an actress called her “not once but twice at least” from the stage.

In a moving video posted to Instagram, Samantha said: “She thought my captioning device was a recording device. I’m sure she wasn’t the only person on stage who thought that.

“She was the only person, however, to call me out to say the least, because I don’t think that’s inherently her meanness.

“I think it’s a misunderstanding, but we still have to talk about it.”

The activist added that there is a “systemic problem” in the theater industry and on Broadway around accessibility and inclusion.

“Part of that has been changed by the creation of technologies like captioning devices so that people can experience a show that they may not have been able to see before.

“Being kind of ostracized and publicly ridiculed really hurts. It was super embarrassing.

“People who need to use these devices should feel comfortable and confident seeing a Broadway show, and not experience shame, embarrassment, and anxiety,” a- she declared.

In a statement published at The lame chickenspokesperson for Hadesville said the production and theater owner Jujamcyn Theaters “have a commitment to accessibility in all its forms”.

They said, “The incident [on Wednesday] is a reminder that this is an ongoing process requiring constant review and renewal.

“Providing access is also about educating everyone in the theater on how we can be more supportive. We are reviewing our internal policies and protocols to ensure this does not happen again.

“Production connected directly with Samantha earlier today [Thursday] to apologize and thank her for bringing this matter to their attention so that it can be resolved.

Samantha was also invited back to the theater to see Hadesville again as a guest in the production.

Photo: @samicat/Instagram.

By Liam O’Dell. Liam is an award-winning deaf freelance journalist and campaigner from Bedfordshire. He can be found talking about disability, drama, politics and more on Twitter and on its website.

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