As we’ve already mentioned, during the course of the See a Voice project the staff team ran a series of events to broaden the awareness and understanding of audio description and assisted performances. They called these events ‘Discover Theatre’.
What patrons said …
“It was a great day – I learnt a lot.”
“I’ve never been here before – everyone was very helpful.”
“I’m certainly going to try the audio description.”
What the venues said …
“It was great for us to see some new faces and have a chance to really promote what we’re doing.”
“Hard work – but well worth it – we took 5 bookings on the day.”
Events such as this are a great way to identify key patrons who could play a part in assisting you to reach new audience members or improve and promote the services you offer. You could identify Ambassadors or patrons willing to participate on Access Panels.
Here’s an example of the poster we used to promote a Discover Theatre event in Harrogate which we also created as a Word document that could be attached to an email.
The event might include:
• Refreshments and social time.
• A talk and demonstration of audio description given by your local describer – you could use a DVD or sound clip to demonstrate.
• A demonstration of the headsets they would be using during a performance.
• Tour of the venue including the auditorium, where you can discuss how a touch tour works, and the front of house, where you can explain where to collect tickets and headsets.
• A presentation of your forthcoming season of work.
Many venues and arts organisations offer public events outside of their main arts programme. These might include:
• Open/information days
• Backstage tours
• Youth theatre events
• Heritage tours
These events are a great way to encourage and develop audiences for your programme of assisted performances. For example, why not have the audio description equipment set up when you have a backstage tour? You can explain what it is and how it works – a great way to raise general awareness.
What you can do …
You might consider making a public event more accessible and do a bit of targeted promotion to encourage them to come along. You’ll need to consider providing appropriate support such as:
• Additional staff on hand to guide patrons
• Large print or Braille programmes
• Description of any presentations
Here is a factsheet to use when planning your accessible event: Access.eventfactsheet3