The night of your audio described performance
The biggest tip we could give you for the audio described show (and any accessible show) is to be there!
Whether it’s you, another access person or a trained assistance usher, having a regular, familiar person at accessible shows helps blind or partially sighted patrons to build a stronger relationship with your venue.
Once you have introduced yourself to the patrons, they’ll know you are the person to come to with feedback, questions or advice. You’ll be the responsible ‘voice’ of access for your venue, which is a massive advantage. It gives you the chance to know exactly what your patrons want – because you know them.
You should try to be there for the Touch Tour, and then through the performance.
Include your describers in your front of house briefing so that the ushers become familiar with the service and who is offering it. If it’s possible, allow your ushers to listen in to part of the performance, it’s a useful learning opportunity and helps them to explain the service to potential customers.
It’s really important to let the whole audience know that the audio described performance is taking place. Put posters up in the box office area, and outside the auditorium, informing people about the audio described show and who it is for.
‘This performance will be audio described for blind and partially sighted patrons. For further information about audio described performances, please contact ___’
Ask Front of House to make a clear announcement 5 minutes before the introduction is broadcast live in the auditorium, so that patrons have time to reach their seats in the auditorium and switch on the headsets.
Use a headset yourself so you can let the audience know the introduction has started, but please don’t engage them in conversation while they are trying to listen.
If your venue has unreserved seating, you will need to reserve seats in a good area for headset reception, bearing in mind that you may have one or two extra visitors who might like to hear the audio description who haven’t declared themselves to box office (and only do so when they hear your Front of House announcement) or who book on the day.
Once everyone is in their seat, with their headsets working, it’s time for the show.