Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Audio describer puts blind people in the picture


Audio describer puts blind people in the picture


Audio describer Nicola Owen narrates into a stenomask

Aucklander Nicola Owen, who will narrate the audio described performance of New Zealand Opera’s production of La traviata in Wellington on Sunday 13 July, has set up a company called Audio Described Aotearoa.

Nicola, who also audio described La traviata in Auckland, says she set up her company because of the growing demand for audio description – and because she wants to make it easy for organisations and venues to provide audio description** for blind and vision impaired people.

Two key questions from organisations are “How do we do it?” and “How much will it cost?”, Nicola says.

“I can provide them with a whole package: training for staff, applying for funding, marketing to the blind community, the touch tour and audio description,” she says.

It’s a package she provided to Auckland Theatre Company this month for its audio described performance of the Maurice Shadbolt classic, Once on Chunuk Bair.

She estimates that the two audio describers (Nicola and Carl Smith) spent a total of 70 hours preparing and then presenting the audio description for Auckland Theatre Company.

“It was a lovely process and the company worked closely with us,” Nicola says. “A highlight was the touch tour, where people were able to explore the set, touch the costumes, meet the actors and hear about the characters.

“The feedback from the 20 blind or vision impaired patrons was very positive. It was the first time that many of them had attended an audio described show and most of them planned to come back.”

For Nicola, one of the main challenges is to encourage organisations to plan ahead and apply for funding to put on audio described shows, and gallery or museum floor talks and tours. A calendar of audio described events for the whole year would help blind people plan ahead and save up for the cost of a ticket.

“What I’d really like is to get some funding to audio describe, say, six shows a year for companies wanting to provide audio description but lacking the budget and necessary resources,” Nicola says.

“It would give them the opportunity to see it in practice and then, hopefully, they would build it into their annual budgets.”

Nicola was one of six people who undertook audio description training for Auckland Live’s SIGNAL programme back in 2011. Since then, she’s audio described five shows through this programme, plus Once on Chunuk Bair and Tauranga Musical Theatre’s production of Grease. She’s also audio described three productions for New Zealand Opera.

“Before 2011, there was virtually nothing happening in New Zealand,” she says. “Now, organisations are really thinking about how to include audio description in what they do. Rather than assuming blind people won’t be interested in anything visual, they’re now thinking about how they can share the visual experience, which is such a large part of live performance.

“I think Arts Access Aotearoa’s Arts For All networks around the country are making a big difference. Members are sharing their enthusiasm, and providing support and information about where to go and what to do.”

In 2012, Nicola worked with the Auckland branch of Blind Citizens NZ to organise audio described tours of public spaces such as Cornwall Park, the Navy Museum, and the Tohuna Torea Walkway.

“I do a series of tours every year and they’re very successful,” she says. “They have sparked an interest among organisations to develop services for blind and vision impaired visitors.”

In a theatrical performance, audio description** narrates what’s happening on stage in between the dialogue or songs. 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

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

TV3 Video: NZ Praised For Sportsmanship After Cricket World Cup Final Loss

New Zealand may have been outplayed in the Cricket World Cup final by Australia, but received praise worldwide for their graciousness in defeat. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Werewolf: Finding Love In Hell

Will it really be 25 years in May since David Lynch’s Wild at Heart won big at Cannes, nabbing no less than the Palme d’Or? Amazing but true, and yet the film that was briefly Lynch’s most feted, now seems to be his most forgotten. More>>

ALSO:

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news