This Production of “Hairspray” is Not Lost in Translation

December 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

The Shaftesbury Theatre in London was the first to adopt the AirScript, a hand-held device that scrolls through a musical or theater work’s script in eight different languages simultaneously with the action on stage.  Similar to opera’s long(er) time use of supertitles, this device is meant to attract more tourists, but in contrast to projected overhead titles, it has a back-lit LED low-glare screen that minimizes the distraction for neighboring audience members.  

The article by BBC News sites advancements in technology as making this possible and more affordable for theaters to implement.  Audience members at the Shaftesbury can rent the device for 6 pounds at the production of “Hairspray.”

While some may still remain skeptical of adding any additional electronics to the front of house atmosphere and the system still has its shortcomings (for example improvised sections of any given work), this cutting edge way of integrating technology to reach new and expanded audiences might just be the kind of advancement theater needs at the international level.


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