How can my child with a vision impairment get the most from a visit to the theatre?

Many theatres offer set performances with audio description, a live verbal commentary providing information on the visual elements of a play or drama as it happens. It describes action that is essential to following the story, as well as other visual information such as the style and design of a production, facial expressions and visual jokes that a child with vision impairment might otherwise miss. The description is delivered between the dialogue of a performance through special lightweight headsets which are easy to use. There is no extra cost for booking an audio described performance.

Further information about accessible arts at UK’s theatres, museums, galleries and heritage sites can be found on VocalEyes website.

Guided description tours of the stage set and physical elements of a play called touch tours which normally happen about an hour before an audio described performance. Provide a child with vision impairment an opportunity to get onto the stage and explore the set with the describers and members of theatre staff. They also get to handle some of the props, as well as touch and feel parts of the set and stage as it's described to them.

Introductory notes may also be available on audio CD or online as an audio MP3 file or text document which can be downloaded from the theatre’s website. The notes provide background information about the production and access information about the theatre. Contact your local theatre or check their website to see if they offer these services.

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