I resigned as Captioner at the theatre last week, finishing just shy of a year and I am feeling a little bit sad about it. Not devastated - just a little bit sad.
It was great fun and a very worthwhile thing to do. Not only did I get to prove to myself that I am a worthwhile human being who is not a total waste of oxygen. I also recognise that I still have skills even after all these years of not working through illness. And I think I am ready to get back to work, even if it is only therapeutic hours (God I hate that term - makes me feel like a loser!)
As a volunteer Captioner, we are advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing, working to make theatre accessible to everyone. Sadly captioning on the island is still relatively new and needs more support by everybody involved in the theatre as it seems to be a bit of an afterthought for quite a large number of people. And I simply don't have the fight in me to be the advocate that I was expected to be.
I mean, come on, I'm not advocate material! I suck at being an advocate. I see everyone's point of view and like sitting on the fence, enjoying the view.
Volunteer Captioners give up the best part of 40-60 hours a month to format a script for captioning. We give up our time for training, provide our own equipment, do our own printing, make phone calls, send copious emails and lots more besides. Sometimes we are welcome. Sometimes we feel like we are an inconvenience. More often than not there is some drama in the run up to a captioned performance and very often on the night of a performance. Drama caused by what I believe is the lack of understanding and appreciation of what captioning is and why it is necessary. Thankfully the back stage crew at the theatre 'get' it.
If you think you could be a Volunteer Captioner, pop over to the Isle of Man Captioning Facebook page and register your interest. I'm off to the Job Centre. :)