A Guide to Theatre Access is a website which provides a step-by-step guide for venues working on captioned, audio described and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted performances.
Parts of this resource were created by the See a Voice project. New material was created with Arts Council England support in response to its Disability Equality Scheme.
The See a Voice project was set up by the charities Stagetext and VocalEyes, who provide captioning and audio description respectively. The project, which ran from 2006 to 2010, led to a huge increase in the number of venues across the UK providing captioned and audio described performances. For more information, please contact Stagetext on the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and VocalEyes: email@example.com
So, what are captioned, audio described and BSL interpreted performances?
Captions are a bit like subtitles on television, allowing deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to read every word the actors say or sing.
Audio-described shows are for blind and visually impaired people, enabling them to hear live description of everything that can be seen on stage during pauses in dialogue.
BSL interpreted performances are for Deaf BSL (British Sign Language) users, enabling them to understand the play through the signs of a BSL interpreter, who stands on the stage.
Captioned, audio described and BSL interpreted performances are often grouped together and referred to as accessible or assisted performances.
Providing accessible performances in your venue means that your shows can reach everyone. Getting it right requires enthusiasm and support from every part of your organisation, from box office and production, to front of house and marketing – not forgetting the artistic team and your performers.