The Washington State Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling persons who are hard of hearing to fully enjoy public venues by being able to have spoken words typed in real time and displayed so all can read them.
We accomplish these goals by working with sports, entertainment, cultural, governmental, and other venues to provide facilities that make it possible for the hard of hearing to share the same experience as the hearing public. Where persuasion fails, we are prepared to compel the venues to provide those facilities.
Wash-CAP is an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit entity, made up of hearing, hard of hearing, and deaf people from all walks of life who are interested in our society enabling all citizens to understand what is being spoken or sung in a public venue. There are no dues. Communication with members is primarily through e-mail. Wash-CAP has an elected board of directors and a president. Members form committees to work with venues of interest to them to make the venue accessible to the hard of hearing.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 2011, there were at least 250,000 Washingtonians who were hard of hearing. When public venues offer spoken words as the primary source of information for their audiences, many of that 250,000 avoid those venues. In addition, their spouses, children, siblings, and friends use those venues less because the loved one who is hard of hearing cannot enjoy them. When those venues offer captioning, hard of hearing people can enjoy the venue as much as the hearing public.
Wash-CAP relies on its members to bring to the board’s attention venues where the hard of hearing are not able to participate. Wash-CAP then starts working with that venue to open its facilities.
Our Projects: Successes & Ongoing Work
- Paramount Theater – Since 2008 agreement with Wash-CAP, offers one open-captioned performance for each Broadway show.
- Fifth Avenue Theater – Since 2010 agreement with Wash-CAP, offers one open-captioned performance for each Broadway show.
- Seattle Repertory Theater – Since 2010 agreement with Wash-CAP, offers one open-captioned performance for each Broadway show.
- ACT Theatre – Will offer captioned shows but they do not advertise or understand how to explain the process over phone.
- CenturyLink Field – In Spring, 2013, the Seattle Sounders announced they would begin testing captions at Sounders games the following Summer. Then later in 2013, Seattle Seahawks home games were captioned during their Super Bowl winning Season.
- Washington Huskies Football – In Summer, 2013, Wash-CAP communicated with the Washington Huskies, asking the Huskies to implement captions and not use hand-held devices. The Huskies captioned their 2013 home games.
- Washington State Ferries System – Since 2009 agreement with Wash-CAP, captions all on-ship (inside) announcements; WSF continues to update the system and train the staff to use the captions: this is an ongoing project.
- Regal Cinema – Since 2011, offers full accommodations: captions and neck loops with their assistive listening devices.
- Century/Cinemark Theaters – Since 2012, offers full accommodations: captions and neck loops with their assistive listening devices. Also, in 2012, Century/Cinemark Theater in Arizona announced and began full accessibility to all Arizona. Century has neck loops and captions at their Federal Way, WA theater.
- Harkins Theaters – Harkins has announced a settlement to offer captions.
- AMC Theaters – In December, 2013, AMC implemented captions and neck loops. Wash-CAP confirmed this at the Kent, Southcenter and Pacific Place (downtown Seattle) AMC Theaters.
- Landmark Theaters – In 2013, Landmark became compatible. Patrons indicate at least some theaters successfully installed captions. We welcome additional input to help update this page!
In 2009, King County Superior Court Judge Regina Cahan ruled that Washington state theaters must show captioned films. Wash-CAP’s attorney, John Waldo, represented us in this case. The judge ruled that theaters must offer captions 90 days after switching to digital. This still isn’t the case in Washington state: many theaters are still not offering captioning (digital or not).
Future captioning projects include:
- Century Link’s Annex Area
- T-Mobile Park (Seattle Mariners games)
- The New Martin Field (Washington State Cougars Football)
- The WSU Basketball Arena
- The Gonzaga Basketball Arena
- American Airlines Arena (Washington Huskies Basketball)
- Live Concert Theaters (on ad-hoc request)
- Convention Centers