2 for 1 tickets available at the Royal Court Theatre London

Calling all audio description theatre goers – this is a very special offer from the Royal Court, London.

Anatomy of a Suicide
Written by Alice Birch
Directed by Katie Mitchell
Audio described performance on Sat 1 Jul 2.30pm (with free touch tour at 1pm)
Audio described by VocalEyes

Special Offer: 2-for-1 tickets to the audio-described performance on Sat 1 Jul 2.30pm, using promo code ANATOMYAD at the box office or over the phone (T: 020 7565 5000).
Limited offer, applicable to £15 audio described tickets only.
Please note that the touch tour will be filmed to produce a video that would help us introduce our access offering to more people.

“My mother always said to Live Big. Live as much as I could.”

Three generations of women. For each, the chaos of what has come before brings with it a painful legacy.

Anatomy of a Suicide features Adelle Leonce (Torn, Royal Court), Hattie Morahan (A Doll’s House, Young Vic) and Kate O’Flynn (The Glass Menagerie, Duke of York’s) as women from three generations of the same family.

Writer Alice Birch continues her collaboration with director Katie Mitchell following Ophelias Zimmer last year – “A vital reclamation of female agency.” (Huffington Post).

Nottingham Playhouse employs an ‘Agent For Change’…

My name is Laura Guthrie and I am Nottingham Playhouse’s Agent for Change. I have been employed by the Playhouse as part of a national project, called Ramps On The Moon.

The project follows on from a highly successful production of The Threepenny Opera, (2014), which was a co-production by Nottingham Playhouse, New Wolsey Theatre, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Graeae (using an integrated cast of disabled and non- disabled actors). Inspired by this production, Ramps on the Moon was set up in recognition of the under representation and employment of disabled people throughout the theatre industry.
Ramps on the Moon will bring six epic touring shows, with a large integrated disabled and non- disabled cast and creative team to the main stage at Nottingham over this six year project. The highly acclaimed Government Inspector was on here at Nottingham Playhouse in 2016, and in 2018 Nottingham Playhouse will be producing its own show for the Ramps On The moon tour.

Nottingham Playhouse is keen to address how disabled people are represented on stage as performers alongside improving access to the theatre for disabled audiences and participants in their outreach community programmes.
I will be at the Playhouse for 12 months to support all the theatres departments in changing and strengthening how the organisation works alongside and for disabled people, in turn, bringing more disabled people into the theatre as audiences, as theatre makers and backstage members of staff.

As a local disabled theatre designer and director I have worked for many years both as a practitioner and Arts administrator within mainstream, Disability Arts and small scale companies. I am keen to hear from any D/deaf or disabled performers, writers, musicians, poets, designers, visual artists living in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire who are looking for ways to connect with other creatives and want to develop their practise.
If you would like to find out more contact Laura on 0115 873 6223 or email laurag@nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Mamma Mia – a caption user’s perspective

Captioned performance of Mama Mia at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham from Simon Astill

I’m a big fan of musical theatre, running two Community Signing Choirs and previously run a Deaf Drama Group that converted into another Signing Choir, with Mama Mia I had really high expectations because prior going to the show, all my hearing friends had been raving about it for different reasons.

I spoke to the accessibility person at the Theatre Royal (who also is a member of Scene and Sound’s management team) as I have my preferred seating in the dress Circle in the theatre and wanted something similar at the Royal Concert Hall which is situated next door to the Theatre Royal and she provided me with a recommendation which would be similar to my preferred seating at the Theatre Royal and I was not disappointed. I prefer to either look down or have the captions at high level and at an angle to the stage to enable me to see most of the action and read the captions at the same time.

It was a very fast paced show and the captioner did very well to keep up with the show, I was able to read the captions and then lipread the person who was speaking to check and they were very much in time and this enabled me to sing along to the better known songs of Mama Mia which I really enjoyed doing.

The set was very simple but very efficient and the cast looked like they were really enjoying their performance and the whole show was a real pleasure to watch, I came away wanting more which is always a good thing for a person who loves musical theatre.

I would definitely look into other musical theatre shows being put on with either captions or interpreted performances at the Theatre Royal/Royal Concert Hall from the West End in future, One I am really excited about seeing would definitely be the Lion King. It is a story I know off by heart and being a big fan of Disney Musicals too, I live in hope.

If you do like going to musicals, I can definitely recommend you try and catch either the BSL Performance or the Captioned Performance of Mama Mia when it comes your way, I promise you, you will be Thanking them for the Music!!!

Check out the events page if musicals are your thing!

The Mansfield and North Notts Deaf Society

The Mansfield and North Notts Deaf society has currently come under new management and hopes to increase its membership and serve the people of North Notts more effectively.

As the only deaf society in the country run by a deaf person, Simon has focused on building membership across different demographics with tailored events such as bingo, yoga and coffee mornings with proposed events including a movie night. Furthermore, Simon is looking at new ways to raise funds for the society, through room room hire, bake sales and a valentines and summer ball, while simultaneously looking for volunteers to help out with these exciting projects.

If anyone would like to contact Simon and the organisation feel free to use our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter (@deaf_mansfield) and Instagram (@mansfielddeafsociety) or by telephone (07772867086) or email (mansfieldnorthnottsdeafsocitey@yahoo.co.uk).

Disabled Access Day – March 12 2016

A yellow circle with the word Disabled Access Day in purple across the centre and the words 12th March 2016 in smaller white letters below.

Disabled Access Day

The first Disabled Access Day took place on 17th January 2015 and 261 venues took part across 11 countries. A range of venues and organisations are holding events especially for Disabled Access Day and they can be viewed here together with offers and promotions. There are a number of useful resources on the website.

Our members are also joining in the celebration and we will include them on our events page as soon as they become public. Meanwhile, do join in by visiting one new place that you’ve never been to before. It could be a cafe, a museum or a football stadium … more news to follow.

Tempting the Reluctant … and Winning Back the Disaffected

The 2016 National Conference Exploring Audiences for Audio Description, in Theatre, Cinema, Galleries and Museums

Date: Monday 14 March

Time: 10am – 5pm

Venue: Birmingham Hippodrome

The Audio Description Association is holding the first National Conference on Audio Description since 1997, exploring why audiences attend audio described events across the country, why they don’t, and what venues can do to increase audiences for audio described plays, films, exhibitions and collections.

Panels of “Audio Description Newbies” will be giving their honest opinions as to why they don’t attend audio-described events; alongside those who have tried it and not come back, and those who are aficionados, who enthuse about the ways audio description has changed their cultural lives. A recent attender at a Mind’s Eye audio description of Wicked enthused – “it’s made all the difference to me. I would have missed so much without it! I’m so glad I made the effort to come!”

Lively debate will focus around issues of perception, programming, provision, pricing, new technologies and quality of the audio description experience.

The Conference is relevant for:

  • Marketing, Programming and Front-line Staff at Venues and Theatre Companies providing Audio Description
  • Audio Description agencies
  • Individual Describers
  • Audience Development Agencies and consultants
  • Organisations of and for Blind and Partially Sighted people
  • and all potential and current users of the service, across all art-forms.

The Audio Description Association is still welcoming expressions of interest from Audio description users and potential users who would like to be part of the panel.

Audio Description service providers and users will share models of good practice, confront the issues affecting attendance and get to grips with innovative and concrete strategies, to increase engagement, a sense of ownership, ticket sales, and ancillary income for venues.

The Conference is organised by the Audio Description Association, which exists to promote standards in Audio Description nationally, www.audiodescription.co.uk

Supported by Arts Council England www.artscouncil.org.uk

Sponsored by

Mind’s Eye www.mindseyedescription.co.uk

Scene and Sound www.sceneandsound.co.uk

Sightlines, www.sightlines-audio-description.org

The Audience Agency www.theaudienceagency.org

Vocaleyes www.vocaleyes.co.uk

Partner Organisation: RNIB www.rnib.org.uk

Conference fees:

Early Bird Rate (bookings received up to 31 January 2016)

Members of the Audio Description Association (ADA): £75 per delegate

Or for two ADA member delegates from the same organisation: £140

Non ADA Members: £95 per delegate

After 31 January 2016: £95 per delegate

Or for two delegates from the same organisation: £180

Fixed rate for people with disabilities: £60 per delegate, which includes 12 months’ ADA Membership

For more information please contact office@audiodescription.co.uk

or Anne Hornsby, email: mindseyedescription@gmail.com

07889 232438.

Royal School for the Deaf Derby presents “Grease”

This year the Royal School for the Deaf, Derby has decided to change the way they do drama.  Grease will be presented as an outdoor musical show and will be captioned for the very first time.  The staff offered the students 8 musical to choose from for this year’s drama, and they unanimously selected “Grease”.

For many of the students this is their second show, as they performed in a professional theatre for their production of Romeo and Juliet.  They are now expanding their skills to the outdoor stage – will their talents ever cease?

The show will raise money for Genesis Research Trust who raise funds for the largest UK-based collection of scientists and clinicians researching the causes and cures for conditions that affect the health of women and babies.  Genesis Research Trust supports women and babies that are born seriously ill or have a disability.

If you would like to come along to the Royal School for the Deaf and help support their students, the show takes place on Thursday 9th July at 7 pm or on Friday 10th July at 11 am.

Access Manager Vacancy at the Royal Shakespeare Company

Access Manager


Putting audiences at the heart of what we do, engaging with the widest number and range of people and enriching the ways they can enjoy and connect with our work is one of the mainstays of the Company’s strategic plan and vision.

The RSC is seeking an Access Manager to work across the organisation to realise this ambition and to lead on the strategic development of the RSC’s Access policy and provision across three main areas – our buildings, staff and artists and audiences and visitors. Our current thinking places a particular emphasis on assisted performances, the development of new audiences and diversifying our workforce.

The postholder will support our ambition to ensure that all our audiences have equal access to our work. They will promote a positive, proactive approach to access across the organisation, working with both internal and external stakeholders to ensure that access provision is embedded in our Equality and Diversity plan and disseminated across the organisation.

A skilful negotiator and passionate advocate for access issues, you will have an ambitious and creative approach to Access, Equality and Diversity issues with a proven ability to influence across a complex organisation. Using your knowledge of relevant target groups both locally and nationally, you will play a key role in the delivery and development of assisted performances across all RSC venues. You should have a thorough and up to date understanding of legislation relating to access provision and have an ability to prioritise and manage a diverse range of projects at the same time.

The closing date for completed applications is 6th July. Please note that first stage interviews for this role will take place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th July.

For a job description and application form, please visit www.rsc.org.uk/about-us/work/vacancies.aspx

e-mail jobs@rsc.org.uk or phone 01789 412625.

We are committed to building a diverse workforce and welcome applications from all individuals.



Captioning in Theatres

An estimated 10 million people in the UK are Deaf or have a hearing loss and this is rising. Captioning provides an important service for many Deaf theatre audiences, giving people access to the arts that they would not otherwise have.

For many Deaf people, particularly those who have become Deaf later in life or do not use British Sign Language as their first language, attending the theatre becomes frustrating and people are reluctant to continue to visit. Captioning can make theatre enjoyable again.

So, how does captioning work?

In the theatre, pre-prepared lines of the script are delivered live during the captioned performance. Usually, they are scrolled onto a screen, close to the stage, in line with actors’ spoken word. The character names are given when an actor’s line or speech begins, in this format – WILLIAM: and sounds may be given like this [ PHONE CHIRPS ] or [THUNDER CRASHES ]

A lot of work goes in to preparing a captioned show. Starting with the script, the captioner begins by stripping out all the unwanted text: stage directions, explanations, and visual cues. Then a visit to the show is needed to mark any changes to the script and to make a note of pauses and all the sounds which may not have been in the original script. This is particularly challenging with a new script which has yet to be brought to life on the stage; the script changes not only with almost every rehearsal but almost every performance!

The other challenge is punctuation. The spoken word is rarely used in complete sentences and pauses often occur in the middle of a sentence or phrase so the captioner has to balance how the actor phrases the words against how the words read on the screen.

The script is uploaded to the captioning software and is checked to make sure that it all makes sense.
Then, accompanied by a DVD of the performance provided by the theatre we rehearse extensively to ensure that the timing of the script is as close to that of the actors as possible.

Different captioning companies use different types of screens. The two most frequently used are LED screens and plasma screens: both offer clear captioning for their Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences.

It is very important that the venue and their technicians understand how captioning works and place the screens in a space which enables the audience member to both read the captions and see the action.

Preferably, two screens are needed, one each side of the stage. This enables the audience member to read one screen, scan across the stage to read the other and back again. One screen makes this difficult unless it is placed in the centre.

Of course, the ideal position for a single screen is on the stage itself. Surprisingly, this does not seem to worry members of the general audience as much as designers and directors fear. Companies like Graeae do this with great effect, projecting the words onto the set as part of the total experience.

However it is done, we know that captioning is a vital part of any theatre’s access offer. As Peter Pullan, co-founder of StageText said in an interview in the Guardian:

“I speak as a person who suffered a severe hearing loss at the age of five. I found theatre impossible to hear and understand. Before captioning, I just went to a few musicals that I tentatively knew, but I gave up on drama. Now, with captions, I go to the theatre once a week and enjoy a wide range of shows; I feel enriched by the experience.”