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Mayor congratulates audio describers

8 April 2014

Mayor congratulates audio describers

Nine audio describers, who completed Arts Access Aotearoa’s three-day audio describer training course, will receive certificates from Her Worship the Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown on Friday 11 April.

“The Council is committed to ensuring the arts and culture are accessible to and inclusive of everyone living in our city,” the Mayor says. “This course has filled a gap by training people in audio description and I would like to congratulate the nine audio describers.

“I hope this will result in increased opportunities for blind and vision impaired people to access audio described live performance, and gallery and museum exhibits. Our progressive arts capital must include everyone.”

The Mayor will present the certificates at the launch of Arts For All: increasing access to the arts for disabled people, which profiles a number of Wellington artists, arts organisations and museums.

First published in late 2009, this new edition of Arts For All provides updated information and ideas to support arts organisations, touring companies, festivals, museums and galleries to become more accessible to disabled patrons. There’s an additional chapter on digital media and accessible technology, along with reflections from disabled artists and arts enthusiasts about what it means for them to have access to the arts and culture.

Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa, says there has been significant progress and increased opportunities for disabled people to engage in arts and cultural events in recent years.

“This publication, along with the programme and activities that have grown from it, has driven much of this change,” he says. “Many hard-working people determined to increased access to the arts for disabled people, are leading these changes.”

Before 2010 there had been one audio described play in New Zealand. Since then, there have been more than 30 audio described performances of theatre, musical theatre and opera around the country.

Also significant are the number of New Zealand Sign Language interpreted performances for Deaf patrons. For example, Circa Theatre has provided two sign interpreted performances of plays in the past two years, along with three audio described performances – with a fourth in the pipeline in mid 2014.

And this year’s New Zealand Festival was its most accessible and inclusive event yet, with six sign interpreted events.

This edition of Arts For All was published by Arts Access Aotearoa with funding from Creative New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

Audio description is a narrated commentary for blind and vision impaired patrons that provides descriptions of the visual elements. In a theatrical performance, an audio describer narrates what’s happening on stage in between the dialogue or songs: for example, new scenes, settings, costume, body language, facial expression, movements across the stage and sight gags.

An audio describer talks into a microphone to provide the commentary. This is transmitted to wireless receivers and headsets worn by the audience members.

ENDS

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