Lutcher Theater installed two assistive listening systems to give patrons a choice. Patrons can request and use traditional radio frequency assistive listening receivers. Or they can download a free app and use their smartphone for assistive listening.
The Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts is a 1,500-seat, beautiful theater located in Orange, Texas. Since its gala opening performance with Liberace on February 7, 1980, the Lutcher Theater has hosted only the best in world-class entertainment.
Inclusion and accessibility are important at Lutcher Theater. In addition to a list of available accommodations on the patron services page of their website, they also have a page dedicated to informing their patrons about their assistive listening systems. The page provides details for using the traditional radio frequency and Wi-Fi assistive listening systems.
Lutcher Theater had an infrared assistive listening system that had served Lutcher Theater patrons for more than 30 years. The old infrared system was still functioning, but patrons were increasingly experiencing issues with interference from large LED screens in the theater.
Full Compass recommended both the Listen Technologies Wi-Fi and RF assistive listening systems. Lutcher Theater had looked at Wi-Fi technology for assistive listening prior. They liked the idea of combining two assistive listening technologies to serve Lutcher Theater patrons. It gives patrons a choice for the best individual experience. So Lutcher Theater installed both a traditional ListenRF radio frequency and a Wi-Fi assistive listening system.
Listen EVERYWHERE streams audio through the customizable app for patrons who would like to access the audio of the performance on their phone. Guests using Listen EVERYWHERE never have to ask for an assistive listening device. This saves patrons a trip to customer service both before and after the performance. With Listen EVERYWHERE there’s no need to check out or return assistive listening devices. The patron downloads the app before the performance, connects to Lutcher Theater’s guest Wi-Fi network, selects the channel to hear the audio, and then listens to the audio of the performance through their own headphones or earbuds connected to their phone.
ListenRF assistive listening devices are small, discreet, lightweight, and easy to use for patrons who prefer not to use their smartphones. For those patrons with hearing aids or cochlear implants, neck loops are also available to use with the ListenRF devices.
On average, Lutcher Theater checks out 15-20 assistive listening devices for each performance. However on some nights, they can have between 50 and 60 requests for assistive listening devices. The high utilization of assistive listening devices inspired the theater’s Technical Director, David Boehme, to buy ListenRF 5200 iDSP receivers for the best experience for those patrons who want to use a traditional assistive listening device. David can hear the normalization of the volume in these high-end receivers and appreciates how that elevates a user’s experience.
David shared, “I can confidently hand out the ListenRF receivers at the beginning of a performance and know that they’ll work without interference and with the best quality audio. Plus, patrons are delighted with the improved sound quality. One couple was visibly excited and repeatedly said these devices sound so much better than the old system.”
Another older gentleman told a staff member that he was able to connect to the app and audio very smoothly and was blown away by the sound quality. David also commented, “So far, with the RF system, we really appreciate the straightforward arrangement of the charging cradles, especially the extra slot for an ID. Also, not needing to remove the batteries for charging is awesome. The feature where the devices start up on their own after being removed from the charger is amazing. No power-on button pushing needed, so cool.”
The Listen EVERYWHERE system is also being used in the Theater’s quick change wardrobe area. This enables cast and crew to hear the show and keep up with the action so they know where they need to be by when. The Lutcher Theater plugged a portable speaker into an iPad and they can hear the show. This means they don’t need an additional sound speaker in that area. The audio from the performance is available throughout the entire theater if the device is connected to the network.