Open Caption Wednesdays

Beginning on Wednesday, June 30, and every Wednesday thereafter this summer, captions will appear on the bottom of our big screens.

This pilot program, Open Caption Wednesdays, is an ideal way to improve the cinematic experience for those who are hard-of-hearing or simply don’t want to miss a single word. 

The Tull Family Theater may be the only cinema in the state—perhaps even across the country—dedicating a full day each week to Open Caption screenings of every film showing. Open captioning is available in most new releases, with the exception of independent titles that might not have the budget to embed the technology.

While Assistive Listening Devices for the hard-of-hearing and Audio Description devices for the visually impaired remain available daily and at no cost, Open Caption Wednesday leap beyond ADA requirements to create an even stronger communal experience. 

Why is this important to our audiences? Auditory issues affect all ages, yet the National Institute on Aging reports that one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those 75 or older  have difficulty hearing—even if they don’t admit it. Census data shows the Greater Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area is home to nearly 475,00 people over age 65—a greater percentage of elders per capita than both the state (10% higher) and the nation (25% higher). 

We hope Open Caption Wednesdays help our audiences to enjoy the experience of movies all the more!

The program is being piloted through August, and its continuation will depend on audience response and funding.

The Theater’s sensory friendly screenings—a tailored cinematic experience geared toward youth with autism and special needs—is also expected to return this summer after being suspended due to COVID.