Bringing the Sights of the Stage to Those Who Can’t See

Imagine attending a play, and everyone in the audience is reacting to what’s happening on stage. Everyone, that is, except for you.

That’s what it is like for visually impaired audience members at theatre performances, films and other productions. While they can hear the music and listen to the lines, visual cues like some jokes or emotions, or even the beautiful sets and costumes, are often lost.

This is where MindsEye steps in with their Audio Description program. Through this program, audience members with vision impairments can listen as the visual action on the stage is described to them through a headset. Without talking over dialogue, the MindsEye audio describer explains costumes, sets and on-stage action, yet leaves interpretation up to the listener.

Audio description aims to empower those who are sight impaired, and gives them the opportunity to become fully immersed in a wide range of events by turning vision into audio.

MindsEye’s vision is “for audio description to be so commonplace in theatres (and museums, and festivals, and…) that no one even thinks about not providing it anymore,” says Rachel Melton, community outreach coordinator for MindsEye. “We want you to expect it like you would expect sign language to be offered.”

MindsEye has provided their Audio Description Program to Variety Theatre every year since 2013. For the 2018 production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, MindsEye will be present at the 7 p.m. show on Thursday, October 18 as well as both the 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. shows on Friday, October 19. Audio description services are provided free of charge with purchase of a ticket. Tickets can be purchased here.

To learn more about MindsEye, including how to have Audio Description Services at your next production or event, visit www.mindseyeradio.org.