Four Letter Word Theatre

Captioning Tool for Live Performance

"(The Days In Between)...is a strong indication that accessibility in theatre is becoming a creative tool in its own right"

Having no prior experience with captioning or theatre and being terrified of screwing it all up, the Director reassured me that "any positive effort was better than no effort at all". With a strong vision from the Director of the captions coming alive as an integrated part of the set, we started simple and built it up from there.

“The Days In Between follows Ira, a young woman living with the past through the present as it unfolds around her. She struggles to reconcile her dreams with reality, as the voice of her trauma speaks for her; threatening to consume her world.

This piece is a surrealist reflection of the experience of living with a post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The more I learnt about captioning for live theatre, the more evident it became for me that the support and tools to create creative captions were few and far between - not to mention expensive.

My intention for this project is to expand it into an easy to setup captioning tool for live theatre with all the possibilities of web technology. I hope that this will give theatres of all shapes and sizes an easier avenue into captioning their performances creatively - rather than a forgotten screen on the side as an after thought.

Translating the script a JSON file, I was able to key through the spoken phrases to reflect the performance live. As a necessity, we found that we also needed:

Numbers used to change scenes, ↑ up and ↓ down to hide and show captioning between dialogue, hiding character names for consecutive lines, lines that hide/show video and canvas elements, styles via CSS classes to change the appearance of captions and support for emojis.

As an extension to the captioning, which turned out to be a giant website, we used p5.js to create an atmospheric aesthetic to match that of the play.

The set projections told the story of the play but also brought out the ever present tension. With the physical haze as our inspiration, and the fact that the relaxed performance couldn’t have haze, we decided to create a dynamic, living, breathing haze that would act as a metaphor of Hexate, Ira’s inner voice.

Project on Github

I feel so lucky to have been afforded the opportunities to be inspired by the artists, designers and developers that make crazy and beautiful things with code. I'm passionate about building these communities locally.

Communities

  • Media Lab Melbourne: Committee member
  • Creative Technology meetup: Organiser
  • Codelikeagirl: Ambassador

Talks + Workshops

  • 2018 | City of Melbourne + MLM: DIY Monsters(Coming soon)
  • 2018 | Melbourne Design Week + MLM: Generative Patterns(Coming soon)
  • 2017 | Digital Designers Toolbox: Cultural accessibility
  • 2017 | OpenLAB: Cultural accessibility and generative art
  • 2017 | Creative Tech Melb meetup: Building a Dance Machine
  • 2017 | General Assembly: Creative Technology Panel
  • 2016 | Melbourne International Film Festival: Code in the Cinema
  • 2016 | Codelikeagirl: Code + Art
  • 2016 | Redbubble Creative Talks: How to reach your audience
  • 2015 | Melbourne Design Week: Design Hub Showcase
  • 2015 | Pixel Awards: Finalist(The Amazing Race and John West)
  • 2015 | AIMIA: Highly Commended - Best Smartphone or Tablet Application(Schweppes)
  • 2014 | Melbourne Design Awards: Gold - Branded Experience(Deakin Uni)