The Harbor Theater has installed closed captioning and visual-impairment assist technology in its auditorium to allow patrons that are deaf or hard of hearing, or are blind or have low vision, an opportunity to experience a wide array of film events presented at the theater.

Purchase of the equipment was made possible with grant funds received from the Maine Community Fund.

Closed movie captioning is the display of the written text of movie dialogue and other sounds delivered via individual captioning screens used by patrons at their seats, instead of being displayed to the entire audience on the main screen.

Visual-impairment assist technology provides audio description that is transmitted to users through infrared wireless headsets. This allows individuals who are blind or have low vision to enjoy films by providing a spoken narration of key visual elements within a film, such as actions, settings, facial expressions, costumes and scene changes. Audio description fills in information about the visual content of a movie where there are no corresponding audio elements in the film.

It is essential for us to offer these enhancements in order to best serve all our current and future patrons. It is estimated there are more than 53,000 visually/hearing-impaired adults living in Maine. In addition, Maine has the oldest population in the country. We anticipate the need for closed captioning and visual-impairment assist technology will grow. It is important that the Harbor Theater be a place which is accessible and inclusive withing the community, which is why this project has been a priority for our organization.