The stage of the Grand Theatre Blackpool.

Going out to the theatre

If you have a visual impairment and like going out to see plays and other events at the theatre, then there's plenty on offer for you.

Throughout the UK, many theatres provide different ways for visually impaired people to enjoy culture.  

Audio described performances 

At live performances, a trained audio describer gives a live verbal description of what's going on visually. This is done discreetly through a wireless headset provided by the venue and worn by the visually impaired person. 

Prior to the start of the performance, the audio describer will provide an introduction, setting the context and describing the sets, costumes, characters and any other key information. During the performance, the audio describer will speak at intervals between dialogue or music, to enrich the experience for the visually impaired person. This includes the description of sets, costumes, characters, facial expressions, body language and action.  

Touch tours 

Before a performance, touch tours give visually impaired people the chance to go on stage and touch the sets, scenery, props and costumes. This activity allows visually impaired people to paint a rich mental picture of their surroundings. Frequently, actors, production staff and others involved in the performance are available to meet during the touch tour.  

Orientation visits 

For visually impaired people who'd like to get a sense of what the whole experience of attending a performance is like in advance, then an orientation visit is a great way to do so. Many venues offer orientation visits, enabling people to get familiar with the venue before attending a performance. These visits cover all areas of the event—from booking and collecting tickets to getting refreshments and accessing seating and accessible toilets.

At seat service 

Many venues will deliver specific items directly to visually impaired patrons—both prior to the performance and during intermissions. Services may include food and drink, as well as gift items and other merchandise.  

Theatre services for visually impaired people

There are theatres throughout the country that have a variety of services for visually impaired patrons. You can use the resources below to check each location and find out what's available. 

Aylesbury

Waterside Theatre  

Birmingham 

New Alexandra Theatre

Blackpool 

The Grand Theatre

Brighton

Theatre Royal

Bristol

Bristol Hippodrome 

Bromley 

The Churchill Theatre 

Chichester

Chichester Festival Theatre  

Edinburgh 

Edinburgh Playhouse 

Folkestone 

Leas Cliff Hall 

Glasgow 

King's Theatre

Theatre Royal

Grimsby 

Grimsby Auditorium

Liverpool 

Liverpool Empire

London 

For accessible theatre performances all around London, check out the Access London Theatre guide at the Official London Theatre website.  

Manchester 

Palace Theatre 

Opera House 

Milton Keynes 

Milton Keynes Theatre

Norwich

Norwich Theatre

Nottingham 

Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall

Oxford

New Theatre

Richmond 

Richmond Theatre

Southport

Southport Theatre

Stoke

Regent Theatre

Victoria Hall

Sunderland 

Sunderland Empire

Torquay

Princess Theatre

Woking

New Victoria Theatre 

Rhoda McGaw Theatre 

Wolverhampton 

The Grand Theatre

York 

Grand Opera House  

Organisations offering audio description services  

In addition to the venues themselves, Mind's Eye and  VocalEyes are two organisations that offer audio description services at theatres throughout the UK. 

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