Use all the methods available to you to communicate information about assisted performances to as broad a range of people as possible, including raising awareness amongst your general attenders.
Start with what you already produce: your season brochure. If you already include some information on assisted performances in the brochure, ask a friend or colleague who is not familiar with the details to use it to find out more information.
How easy did they find it?
- Could they quickly tell whether your next show had an AD performance or did they have to flick backwards and forwards between different sections?
- Is there an explanation somewhere of what audio description is?
- Does it say if there’s a touch tour and what time it is?
- Does it include any specific information on how to book a headset and where to collect it from?
Remember, the aim is to make theatre-going enjoyable and not hard work.
How quick and easy it is to find relevant information leaves a lasting impression.
What you can do…
- Use your season brochure to highlight clearly which shows have AD performances and when.
- Include service definitions so that you reach those people for whom all this may be new as well as increasing understanding for friends and family.
- Let people know how they can get information in alternate formats and what those formats are.
- Display generic information posters highlighting the services you offer and what they are – this creates a very welcoming and inclusive impression.
- Include a letter or flyer highlighting forthcoming assisted performances when you send out ANY tickets, regardless of whether they are for an AD performance.
- Every year or so write an article in a programme or ‘friends’ newsletter to highlight what’s available.
- Make sure you include information on assisted performances in any external listings like local ‘What’s on’ magazines or at the end of reviews.
Think about people’s decision-making process. First they decide whether they are interested in the show, then they see if it is accessible to them. However, if you have a season of 25 shows but only 5 of them are audio described someone who is a confident AD theatregoer is going to want to know what their specific options are quickly and easily, and then they can decide which, of those 5 shows, they might be interested in.
But don’t assume that all blind and partially sighted people are so desperate to see a theatre event that all you need to do is tell them that there is an audio described performance and they’ll come. That’s like saying ‘This one is accessible – take it or leave it’. Not terribly persuasive, particularly given the barriers many people face in just getting out the door.
Embed information into your existing marketing campaigns, sending the same information as you do your other audiences, depending on preferences. For example, whether they are a frequent or an occasional opera attender or have expressed an interest in the classics. You then need to collect and store information about their preferred communication method so you can change the format of the communication as appropriate and highlight assisted services that may be of particular interest.