His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen offers specific services to allow members of the public with disabilities better access to performances. These services are named: audio description, touch tour, audio described performance, BSL signed performance, captioned performance.
I’ll explain these terms:
- Audio description: an additional narration track intended for blind, visually impaired costumers of any visual media, such as; television, dance, opera, and visual art. It consists of a narrator talking through the presentation and describing what is happening on the screen or stage during the performance.
- Touch tour: a way to acquire the information or access a work of art by using the sense of touch. The experience helps to complete the mental image of an object of art.
- Audio described performance: verbal commentary that tells visually impaired audience member what is happening on the stage (describing facial expression, scenery, costumes and action) during parts of the performance where there is no dialogue. The description does not interfere with the performance but fills the gaps between dialogue.
- BSL signed performance: full production with the addition of a BSL interpreter who interprets the performance for deaf audiences. The interpreter is viewed on custom-fitted monitors without any obstruction of the action on the stage.
- Captioned performance: process of displaying text on television, video screen to provide additional information that is a transcription of the audio element of a performance as it occurs. Very similar to subtitles on a TV screen.
These services which the theatre implements promote a more varied social life and encourage people to pursue activities that are intended for pleasure and relaxation. Let’s just hope that many of us notice the benefit of using these technical gadgets and the services take off in a bigger way.
Why it is important to pass along this information? The fact that we show support to the individual’s needs builds integrity and is liberating. It appears that institutional, social and environmental barriers to social inclusion can be made less distant for us all.
Coins used to be a way to pass the message (messages appeared on the coins) by, for example, women petitioning for civil rights. Maybe this is the time when we can all access a lifestyle, or some kind of harmony between body and mind, in real life.
I have no control of what and how much support is available in context of disability issues but I have choice and, I think, responsibility to pass the coin along. Hopefully this will encourage more people to do the same.