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