COLCHESTER'S Mercury Theatre is set to host the world's first exhibition on open captioning in the arts, celebrating the invention and acknowledging its role in making art accessible for the deaf.

Created by Stagetext, the deaf-led captioning charity, Captions Speak Louder will take viewers through the history of theatre captioning, showing how they were brought to the UK and spread across the country.

The tour will be in Colchester from Saturday, September 3, to Thursday, September 29, following a successful debut at the Barbican Centre in November 2021.

Stage captioning was brought to England following an American tour of Anthony and Cleopatra in 1999.

The exhibition will the chart the evolution and how the art of captioning has changed since.

The free exhibition will explore this history through the shared stories and memories of caption users, the charity's founders and the staff and supporters who fought to make theatre accessible to deaf people.

The event has been led by executive director Steve Mannix, executive producer Tracey Childs and creative director Ryan McBryde.

Mr Mannix said: “We’re really proud to be hosting this exciting exhibition to tie-in with kickstarting our autumn season of events.

“At the Mercury, we firmly believe in the arts being accessible for all and this will be a great opportunity for our audiences to learn more about captioning and accessibility within the arts.”

Liz Hilder, Stagetext’s acting chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Mercury Theatre to share the story of captioning.

“Come along and find out how captions began, and how they continue to open up access to theatre and culture today.”

More information on the show and the history of the charity can be found