7% of UK theatregoers have a disability. This compares with 18% of the UK’s adult population. Directors can help build audiences as diverse as the population at large by making their art accessible to all. Live performances are increasingly being made accessible to people with sensory impairments not only to satisfy equality laws and the requirements of funding bodies, but also in the interest of diversity and as a catalyst for creativity. But how do you ensure you don’t throw out the access baby with the artistic bathwater?
This book draws on the results of the Integrated Access Inquiry: Is It Working? A qualitative study with 20 theatre makers from around the UK, It was commissioned by Extant Theatre - the UK’s leading company of blind and visually impaired people, and combines feedback from disabled audiences with advice from the creative teams who have experimented with integrating access.
It discusses the challenges and opportunities of working with disabled actors and building in audience access even before rehearsals begin. It offers strategies, case studies and a step-by-step guide to help creative people integrate access into their live performance for the benefit of all.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Background to the Is it Working? project; 1. Introduction to Access Services; 1.1 What is Access?; 1.2. Modes of access; 1.2.1 Audio Description; 1.2.2 sign language interpreting; 1.2.3 captioning; 1.2.4 surtitling; 1.3 Legislation and guidelines; 1.4. Open access and advocacy; 2. Access: The Audience; 2.1. What is disability?; 2.2 The social model of disability; 2.3 Access services and Universal design; 2.4 Access all areas; 3. Traditional models; 3.1 Traditional Access Models; 3.2 Enhanced AD; 3.3. Problems with Traditional AD; 3.3.1 Technology; 3.3.2 Stigma; 3.3.3 Content; 3.3.4 Process; 3.3.5 Vocal Delivery; 4. Integrated AD Strategies; 4.1 What is Integrated AD?; 4.2 A model to follow: Accessible Filmmaking; 4.3 Integrated strategies in live performance; 4.3.1 Describers as characters; 4.3.2 Embedded AD; 4.3.3 Multisensory approaches; 4.3.4 Crowd-sourced approaches; 4.3.5 Tailor-made access; 5. The challenges of Integrated access; 5.1 The Process; 5.1. 1 Casting; 5.1.2 Budgeting; 5.1.3 Timeline; 5.2 A catalyst for creativity; 6. Art versus Access; 6.1 Immersion; 6.1.1 engagement; 6.1.2 comprehension; 6.2 Access Babies and artistic bathwater; 7. Evaluation; 7.1 What is evaluation?; 7.2 Why evaluate?; 7.3 Evaluation strategies; 7.3.1 Informal Feedback; 7.3.2 Questionnaires; 7.3.3 Focus groups; 7.3.4 Embedded evaluation; 8. Integrated access case study one ; 9. Integrated access case study two; 10. Taking the First Steps; 11. Glossary; 12. References; 13. Index; 14 Appendix: interviews transcribed in full.
Dr Louise Fryer is one of the UK’s most experienced describers. She has described at the National Theatre since it started offering AD in 1993. For the BBC, she helped develop the pilot TV Audio Description Service (AUDETEL). She has described films and was the accessibility advisor for the BAFTA-nominated Notes on Blindness (2016). She writes audio guides for museums and galleries.
Amelia Cavallo is a blind, USA born theatre practitioner, academic and workshop facilitator. She works as a multi-disciplinary performer, musical director, lecturer and consultant on access and audio description. Currently, she is a Phd candidate at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama studying intersections of gender, disability and sexuality. She has also performed with disability led theatre companies such as Extant, Graeae and Birds of Paradise as well as with regional theatres such as The New Wolsey, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Royal Exchange Manchester.