The night of the show
The most important tip we could give you for the BSL interpreted show (and any accessible show) is to be there!
Whether it’s you, another access person or an usher, having a regular, familiar face at accessible shows helps Deaf patrons to build a stronger relationship with your venue.
Once you’ve 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 ‘face’ 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.
It’s really important to let everyone know that the BSL interpreted performance is taking place. Put posters up in the box office area, and outside the auditorium, informing people about the BSL interpreted show and who it is for.
Your poster could simply say:
‘Tonight’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be British Sign Language interpreted. BSL gives Deaf audience members access to the play.’
If your venue has unreserved seating, you will need to reserve seats in a good area to see the BSL interpretation, bearing in mind that you may have one or two extra visitors for the BSL interpreted show who haven’t declared themselves in advance to box office!
When the lighting for the interpreter is set up, you should go and have a look at the set-up and make sure there are no problems with visibility from the seats the audience members will sit in. This is your last chance to get things just right for the show.
As previously arranged, introduce the interpreter to the cast and give them a chance to break the ice and get to know one another.
Think about how you might alert Deaf patrons to an emergency. Your ushers would need to get their attention visually or by tapping them on the shoulder, before indicating how to exit the auditorium.
You should also consider how to alert deaf patrons to the end of the interval. You could dim the lights on and off in the bar or area outside the auditorium.
Be around when the audience arrive, and give them their synopsis if you have prepared one. Once everyone is in their seat, make sure they are happy and can see the interpreter clearly.
Then it’s time for the show.