18 Nov 2019 – 26 Nov 2019
Shakespeare’s Globe and other theatres
Application deadline Monday 16 September
Do you love theatre? Are you good with words, and looking to develop skills that would mean you working in some of the UK’s best theatres? VocalEyes is seeking people who share our belief that everyone should be able to experience and enjoy theatre and would like to learn to deliver audio description services for theatre performances.
We’re seeking to expand the pool of professional audio describers, both to work for VocalEyes in particular, but also more generally, to ensure that the UK theatre sector has the capacity to offer more audio description and more choice to blind and partially sighted people.
What does a theatre audio describer do?
Audio description in a theatre provides live information on the visual elements of a production as it unfolds. It describes action that is essential to an understanding of the play’s story, as well as other visual information such as the style and design of a production, facial expressions and visual jokes that a blind or partially sighted member of the audience might otherwise miss. The description is delivered in between the dialogue of a performance and is picked up by the audience member wearing a special wireless headset.
An audio describer’s job is to prepare, rehearse and deliver the live audio description, script a descriptive audio introduction and run the touch tour, which gives the blind and partially sighted audience the opportunity to meet actors, handle props and costumes.
You can find links to several accounts by users of theatre audio description on our website here.
The training course will comprise four main components. Trainees are required to attend all of these for successful completion of the training:
Classroom (18-19 and 25-26 November 2019). Based at Shakespeare’s Globe, London. Highly experienced audio describers, technicians and blind and partially sighted audience advocates will take you through all aspects of an audio-described performance, from researching and writing the script, learning to guide blind and partially sighted people and run an on-stage touch tour, through to studio recording of introductions, and live delivery of description over headsets at the theatre.
Assessment. Rehearsal and delivery of an audio description of a live performance at a London theatre. Each trainee’s delivery will be assessed.
Shadowing. Trainees who pass the assessment will then shadow an experienced VocalEyes describer on a show (during December or January 2019), who will involve them in the first viewing, audio introduction scripting process, dry run, touch tour, live audio description, and post-show.
Co-delivery. Trainees will then deliver their first AD to a public audience (dates tbc), partnered with an experienced audio describer, who will collaborate with them and act as a mentor throughout the process.
We also plan to run some additional workshops, on integrated / creative audio description, and the description of dance, which the trainees are encouraged to attend.
How to apply:
Those applicants who show that they meet the criteria will be invited to attend the Information Day on 25 September 2019 (Central London), where you will have the opportunity to hear more about theatre audio-description and ask experienced audio describers and audio description users any questions.
You will then be able to decide whether you wish to go through the final selection process at the end of the day. A maximum of 12 people will be selected. Attendance on this day is required for everyone who goes through to the course.
Email titled Audio Describer Training, to let us know you are interested. We will send you a person specification.
Your application should be emailed to and contain:
- A CV with contact details (Microsoft Word or similar, not PDF)
- A covering letter (maximum 1,000 words) or link to a piece of audio or video (maximum 7 minutes) hosted on Soundcloud, YouTube, Vimeo or similar. This should express your interest in joining the course and demonstrate to us why you think you’d make a good audio describer, based on the criteria in the person specification.
Cost: £200. Thanks to generous grants from the Kirsh Foundation, the Mackintosh Foundation, the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, the fee for the course has been heavily subsidised.
Application deadline: 9 am Monday 16 September.
Shakespeare's Globe and other London theatres