An audience at a performance

Where do assisted performances sit in your organisation? – part 1

In reality, programming and delivering an assisted performance will involve a large number of people at your theatre. For example, the Access Co-ordinator will probably co-ordinate and drive through the decision-making and planning; your marketing will need to be accurate and attractive; box office staff will need relevant information in order to ensure that bookers have appropriate seats and other arrangements; front of house staff will need to be comfortable welcoming D/deaf and disabled people into your venue and offering support appropriately; technicians will need to be on board to ensure the equipment is working; the artistic team will be involved regarding the placing of the caption unit; company and stage management will need to provide an accurate script for both captioner and describer; and these teams together with Front of House and Box Office staff will need to liaise with the describers to  develop and finalise details for the Touch Tour.

In 2009, See a Voice commissioned a piece of research amongst theatre professionals and amongst D/deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted people. The research states that:

“[f]rom the literature and from our research, it seems that there are three possible approaches to considering the provision of assisted performances:

  1. captioning and/or audio description are an inherent and important consideration from the beginning of the show’s inception. The description script, or the position of the caption unit, is used by the artistic team within the design and growth of the show. The show’s aesthetic is affected by the fact of the captioning or the audio description. This could be characterised as full integration.
  2. captioning and/or audio description are included within practical planning so the position of the caption unit is thought about from the outset and the service providers are consulted about the best ways of providing the service. This could be characterised as a collaborative approach.
  3. captioning and/or audio description are bolted on to a completed show with the captioner and/or describer using dvd footage and viewings of the live performance to produce a script and a product that does justice to the show… This could be characterised as a supplementary service.”

Although this analysis is primarily focused on the relationship between the artistic product and the assisted performance, it can also be applied to the extent to which assisted performances are seen as integral to a quality service delivery.


Now go to: Where do assisted performances sit in your organisation? – part 2