Audio Description

What is audio description?

This facility helps to make visual events accessible for blind and visually impaired people.

An audio-describer describes costumes, scenery, actions, facial expressions etc that would otherwise be inaccessible. The describer may seated in the lighting box or at least within sight and sound of the production. Information is usually relayed to the blind or visually impaired person through infra-red headsets.

Action points

If you have not used audio description before, consult with an organisation working with Blind and visually impaired people, or with DAC.

  • Check whether the event is appropriate for audio description
  • Check that appropriate equipment is available at the venue
  • Include budget for audio description in grant applications
  • When booking an audio describer, contact organisations for blind and visually impaired people well in advance; give the organisation as much information as possible

When you have booked the audio-describer

  • Ask whether they will need to see the company in performance beforehand
  • Send a video of the performance if available.
  • Send full information about the event. Include:
  • script, transcript of speeches or speakers notes
  • running order or agenda
  • timetable with get-in and get-out times
  • directions and parking
  • contact details of key staff
  • Market the event to blind and visually impaired people
  • Include audio describer’s name on programme. Note that at meetings and conferences, audio describers should be listed separately, and not included in the list of delegates

Practicalities at the event

  • Delegate a key person to be responsible for liaising with audio describer during the event
  • Discuss available facilities with audio describer and technician
  • Refreshments: Include audio describer when calculating meals and refreshments for company and crew

Further Information

Audio Description International’s website

Royal National Institute for Blind People’s website

Nationwide Audio Description company’s website.

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