Embedding assisted performances

Look at the questions in the section on Where do Assisted Performances Sit in Your Organisation?  These are deliberately each expressed as an either/or so as to emphasise the distinction between you having sole responsibility and access being thoroughly embedded. In reality, of course, the situation may well be somewhere in the middle.

You may want to share this process with the ‘champion’ on SMT if you have one.

Use the following statements as a checklist to assess the starting-point of your organisation (they’re based on the questions in the SMT toolkit.)

For each statement, give the organisation a number where 4 is totally embedded, everyone in the organisation is committed to access and to assisted performances, and you simply maintain an overview; and 1 is not at all embedded, you have sole responsibility for access and for assisted performances happening.

For the areas where you have given the organisation a 1, 2 or 3, identify action points that would take you to a next step. The important thing is that these action points need to be things you can do, ie they must not be based on other people taking action. If you need someone else to make a decision or to do something, then your action must be about what you can do to persuade them, or facilitate them to do that.

This is the basis of your action plan to move those aspects of access services that belong elsewhere away from your desk and out into the organisation. You may want to prioritise those areas where the figure is at its lowest, or alternatively, you may want to start where you think you’ve got the best chance of making allies.


Procedures and protocols in place to ensure that the tasks necessary to delivering the assisted performances automatically happen within the flow of work (4)
Access Co-ordinator (or equivalent) has to chase individuals, on a show by show basis, to make these things happen (1)

Marketing team informed and confident about marketing assisted performances within their general strategy for each show (4)
Access Co-ordinator has to prompt and advise on an ad hoc basis (1)

Box office staff fully briefed about which shows are to be captioned and described and what the booking implications are (4)
Access Coordinator has to provide targeted briefing, whenever relevant (1)

Front of house staff trained and confident in welcoming and supporting D/deaf and disabled audience members (4)
D/deaf and disabled audience members are disappointed with the level of service they receive (1)

Quality of the captioning and audio description assessed and discussed in the same way as the quality of the rest of the artistic aspects of a show (4)
It is considered enough simply that the captioning and audio description is available (1)

If the Access Co-ordinator is absent and a query comes in about an assisted performance, other members of staff can deal confidently with the inquiry (4)
Staff have to take a message and ask the Access Co-ordinator to answer the query on their return (1)

If you are a producing venue, artistic teams recognise the importance of the integration of the caption unit into the set design. It is expected that designers and directors will understand, or at least adapt to, this requirement (4)
Access Co-ordinator has to advocate for the unit’s positioning with every new production (1)

If you are a receiving venue, you alert producers early in the relationship that you will need a script and a dvd for your captioners and describers and you clearly state when you need to receive these. This is embedded in your agreement with producers (4)
Access Co-ordinator has to liaise independently with producers in order to obtain these items (1)

Technicians are as familiar with the caption unit and with the audio requirements of the description service as they are with more general lighting and sound issues (4)
Access Co-ordinator has to take responsibility for ensuring that equipment is present and functional (1)

Show reports include comments on captioning and audio description where this is provided (4)
Captioning and/or audio description are seen as something separate to the show
which is not considered alongside other aspects (1)

You monitor your audiences for assisted performances (4)
You consider it sufficient to have programmed the captioning and/or description (1)

As a matter of course, you gather feedback from audience members using assisted performance facilities (4)
Access Co-ordinator has to implement specific feedback mechanisms separate from other audience feedback (1)

The matter of assisted performances is included in staff induction (4)
Staff are expected to pick it up as they go along (1)

Board and Senior Management value the programme of assisted performances (4)
They regard it as a marginal but necessary activity which is a drain on resources (1)

Now go to: Themed action points