Audio Description – an inclusive opportunity

2 January 2018

At WNO we want opera to come alive for everyone. Each season we offer Touch Tours and an accompanying Audio Description for selected performances in many of our venues.

So what is Audio Description?

Our audio describers provide a live verbal commentary during the opera. They describe the action, facial expressions and body language, as well as the stage setting and positions of the characters in relation to each other. The information is relayed using an infrared system to a light-weight headset.

In addition, to boost your understanding of the opera and the production, a 15 minute introduction to the sets, characters and costumes is given before the action begins on stage. Once the singing starts the audio describer will use the pauses between to update you on lighting, set changes, etc. All adding up to a greatly enhanced experience for those who are blind or partially sighted. Prior to the performance – usually an hour before – we also offer a Touch Tour, led by one of our Stage Managers. These guided tours take you on stage and among the sets, giving access to props and costumes for you to touch, to get an understanding of the production’s setting. If you wish to take part in a Touch Tour, please remember to wear sensible shoes, which is a standard requirement when on stage or backstage.

To be able to take advantage of the descriptions all you need to do is let the theatre box office know you’d like a headset. They should also be able to advise you on best seating for a description performance, and both the description and Touch Tour are provided at no extra cost Click here for dates of forthcoming Audio Described performances. If you do come along, then we also offer a pre-recorded description on our website for you to listen to in advance.

For more information on AD performances and Touch Tours please speak to the theatre box office.