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Smart caption glasses

People wearing Smart Caption Glasses at a performance in the theatre

Smart caption glasses

Smart caption glasses are a revolutionary new way for people with hearing loss to enjoy performances at the National Theatre.

When wearing the glasses, users will see a transcript of the dialogue and descriptions of the sound from a performance displayed on the lenses of the glasses.

For the first time, service users can experience our productions from any seat in any theatre.

Developed with
support from

Accenture logo
Partner for Innovation

Glasses designed and manufactured by Epson

Smart caption glasses are the culmination of a 4 year collaboration between the National Theatre and speech and language experts led by Professor Andrew Lambourne

Smart caption glasses are supported by The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust and the Kirby Laing Foundation


How do I book a pair of caption glasses?

See the guide below for more details of how to book.
If you're booking for multiple productions and require glasses for each performance in your booking, you'll need to add glasses for each performance you've booked. 
Smart caption glasses are generally available for performances on, or shortly after the Press Night for each show.

How do smart caption glasses work?

Watch our instructional video to find out how to use the glasses.

Can I still wear my glasses when using smart caption glasses?

Yes you can. Smart caption glasses are adjustable and fit over your glasses.

Do I have to book a captioned performance to be able to book or use smart caption glasses?

No, you don't have to book for a captioned peformance. Smart glasses can be booked for any performance listed via the booking links at the bottom of this page.

Where do I collect my glasses when I arrive at the theatre?

Please come to Box Office of the theatre for which you have tickets - Lyttelton Theatre Box Office is in the main entrance pavilion, Olivier Theatre Box Office is on the Stalls floor on Level 2, Dorfman Theatre Box Office is in the Dorfman foyer. When you arrive, staff will be able to assist with picking up your glasses for the performance. Glasses will be available to collect up to 30 minutes before the start of the performance. If possible, drop coats and bags in the cloakroom before collecting your glasses.

How can I find out more about smart caption glasses?

For booking enquiries email the Box Office on or call 020 7452 3961.
For Access information email or call 020 7452 3284.
For all other enquiries email

Smart caption glasses will be available for the shows listed below

A guide to buying tickets and getting smart caption glasses

  1. Follow the show links below for performance listings where smart caption glasses will be offered
  2. Select a performance and add show tickets to your basket
  3. Then on the next page (/your-tickets), the smart caption glasses will be offered to add to your basket (subject to availability)
  4. Continue shopping or go to checkout


If you already have tickets for any of these shows, you can also book smart caption glasses by calling the Box Office on 020 7452 3961.

Faith, Hope and Charity and smart caption glasses

The final part of Alexander Zeldin’s trilogy that began with Beyond Caring – ‘Unforgettable’ (The Times), followed by LOVE, ‘the National’s play of the year, and then some’ (Evening Standard). 

Faith, Hope and Charity performances from 20 September

'Master Harold'... and the boys and smart caption glasses

Tony Award-winning playwright Athol Fugard’s semi-autobiographical masterwork explores the nature of friendship, and the ways people are capable of hurting even those they love.

Master Harold performances from 30 September

Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear - the Musical! and smart caption glasses

Based on the hilariously anarchic, award-winning children’s books by Andy Stanton, who has created the book and lyrics, with music by Jim Fortune

Mr Gum performances from 3 August

The Secret River and smart caption glasses

A deeply moving and unflinching journey into Australia’s dark history, adapted from Kate Grenville’s acclaimed novel.

Secret River performances from 23 August