Header image by Darren Gill, with permission La Mama Theatre
Image description: VV's audio describer Josh Lynzaat stands on stage wearing a tweed jacket, glasses, holding open book with written descriptions. In background on stage also but out of focus, three young people perform in La Mama for Kids production Meet the Grandies directed by Amelia Burke.
Audio Description & Tactile Tour Services
Vitae Veritas is a major provider of high quality audio description and tactile tour services for the performing and visual arts industry across metro and regional Victoria, to make arts and culture more inclusive of, equitable and accessible to people who are blind, or have low vision. AD and TT can also benefit people with multisensory or learning disabilities and Autism.
We provide AD and TT for live theatre productions, visual art exhibitions, media and films, hybrid, online and live interdisciplinary works, at festivals and events, in a variety of artforms, styles, scales, length, contexts and settings, including the creation of other information in audio or text-based formats.
Our pool of qualified describers and guides have diverse identities, backgrounds, lived experiences, knowledge and skills across the creative industries, who also have dedicated professions and roles within inclusive arts, working with and alongside people with disability.
Our describers and guides provide consultation and advice about matching tools and techniques with the specific performance, media or event, to ensure the service is tailored and of a high standard, equitable and fit-for-purpose.
Through our holistic and contemporary approach, we work in close consultation with artists, creatives, professionals, arts companies and cultural institutions alongside the blind and low vision community to ensure design, management and delivery of products and services respect the non-sighted perspective and meets their needs, all-the-while continually improving and learning through feedback and evaluation.
AD and TT is fee-for-service and quotes are customised according to the type and nature of the job.
To make an enquiry and book in a first free consultation, email Nilgun at VV:
Ideally enquiries should be sent with as much notice as possible (4-6 weeks in advance and no less than 2 weeks before your event), as we cannot guarantee being able to accommodate short notice requests.
In your enquiry please provide: name of production or event, season dates, location, and duration of event; links and/or synopsis of work; script and/or running order; summary of components ie. audio, physical, visual, AV and/or other content; primary genre/artforms; seating/audience situation; any attachments you are willing to share ie. rehearsal and production schedules, bios and/or design materials; number of performers/actors and/or number of artworks and what type of service/s you are seeking.
Please note, VV does not own or broker provision or hire of audio description equipment at this point in time. Be aware that you may need to allocate extra resources to afford and obtain this gear and VV can suggest a few suppliers for you to make further enquiries.
Read further if you would like to know more about audio description and tactile tours, or about VV’s stats and insights from 2022, including some articles of interest at end.
- About VV and our valued Clients
- Disrupting sighted ableism
- DSA 2022
- DSA 2023
- Audio described events
- Consultancy, Training and Education
About Audio Description:
Audio description (AD) is the auditory narration of visual aspects of live events, theatre performances, exhibitions, tours and media such as film and video. AD is prepared and delivered by qualified audio describers. Provided during gaps in dialogue, AD is a tool that enhances accessibility to people who are blind or have low vision and can benefit people with Autism, multisensory or learning disabilities.
The universal access symbol graphic for audio description can be displayed in guides and programs to indicate a work’s accessibility at a quick glance, and displayed signage is beneficial for raising awareness in the community. The symbol is on a white background that has bold black capital letters AD with three curved lines representing soundwaves radiating out from the D.
Traditionally, the live broadcast of descriptions is done with assistive AD technology and software and/or is pre-recorded, so that the audio is able to be transmitted or streamed and received through devices and/or downloadable apps to be heard through headsets or earphones.
AD can be prepared for self-guided applications as well, and other contexts for its application include written support materials such as image descriptions, alt-text, summaries or visual content transcripts.
There is a variety of modes in the way AD can be delivered live - in-situ or remotely, and with audio recordings these can be made available through embedded or displayed links online and or in-situ. Different approaches to AD include- traditional, integrated, or embedded. The benefits, considerations and logistics for each varies and require specific planning to implement and resource properly.
About Tactile Tours:
Touch is a very important sense. For people who are blind or have low vision touch is a powerful and fast way to perceive, form and/or complete mental pictures of an object, person or environment and the experience has often been described to be like seeing with our hands.
Hence tactile tours or touch tours (TT) are available to people who are blind or have low vision to equitably access and enjoy arts and cultural events in theatres, galleries, museums and public spaces and are offered at a time during the exhibition period, or prior to the performance.
The universal access symbol graphic for tactile tours can be displayed in guides and programs to indicate a work’s accessibility at a quick glance, and displayed signage is beneficial for raising awareness in the community. The symbol is on a white background and is of an outline of a black circle with the bold black capital letters TT in the centre.
About Tactile Kinaesthetic Tours:
These tours are especially designed for highly physical performance works such as dance and circus where people participate, interact with or embody the physicality of the dancers and their movement to enhance understanding, knowledge and appreciation of the dance's repertoire, style and choreography of movement.
Tactile kinaesthetic tours give opportunity for the body itself to create and store memories, which can be recalled or retrieved during the proceeding audio described performance.
For TT’s and TKT’s, with an experienced describer guide, audience can journey around the physical space to understand dimension, layout and scale of the production or exhibition or site; interact with artworks, installations, set pieces, costumes, props, sculptures, replicas and models to feel shape, texture and weight; and have the opportunity to meet with artists, actors, designers and performers discussing their work.
VV's Stats and Insights:
In 2022 VV received 52 service requests, fulfilling 37, with the remainder not progressing due to a variety of reasons such as- enquirer’s non-commitment, lack of capacity or resources, VV’s capacity being exhausted at time of enquiry, alongside numerous short notice requests which could not be accommodated.
Of the 52 requests 18 were for theatre (12 fulfilled), 9 were for Dance (6 fulfilled), 5 were for Festivals (5 fulfilled), 6 were for Visual Art/Public Art (4 fulfilled), 3 were for Film (2 fulfilled), 5 were for Circus (3 fulfilled), 2 were for Audio-only (2 fulfilled), 4 were for written materials only (3 fulfilled).
Across these events, 76 bookings were received from people who are blind or have low vision.
In total 62 people attended.
Of the 52 events, 132 artists, of which 15% identified as Deaf or disabled, were involved in assisting or supporting these services, and thus actively engaged with inherent opportunities for acquiring new skills, knowledge and experience, increasing networks and community connections, critique and appreciation of their work.
Most popular were the theatre productions and exhibition tactile tours.
Of the theatre and circus shows- three productions offered integrated and embedded audio description and is worth noting these companies/artists were either disability-led or inclusive of people with disability.
It is also worth noting a high number of bookings were received for Festivals and can be attributed to the Festival's concerted strategic and organisational commitment to improve diversity, equity and inclusion through combined, collaborative and targeted efforts, and as a result improving reach and access to information. It also worth noting these events were free however actual nil or low attendances could infer broader issues affecting people’s choice, confidence or ability to attend, such as public health concerns re: COVID infection, existing social and environmental barriers, and further adjustments that Festivals and events need to make to mitigate and respond to these challenges.