A touching performance for Sydneysiders with sight loss

Theatre companies often reach out to community members living with sight loss by offering audio described performances. One company in the Illawarra goes further with touch elements and open conversations to create an immersive event, with plans to increase access for Sydneysiders with sensory tour operator Cocky Guides.

Merrigong Theatre Company are responsible for access services like audio description of performances for patrons with sight loss. This means audience members can listen to a description of the visual aspects of the performance described live via a small radio receiver. It is a verbal commentary that tells visually impaired theatre-goers what is happening on the stage during the parts of the performance where there is no dialogue.  Merrigong go further by offering a tactile tour to become familiar with the set and props prior to the performance and presenting a discussion with creators and performers after shows in their popular Talking Point sessions.

“We’re really proud of our access program for vision impaired patrons and really want to showcase our events and ensure blind and low vision community groups across Sydney have an opportunity to be involved.” said Program Manager of Merrigong, Penny Watts.

 “Penny and the team at Merrigong deliver a fantastic experience and I am excited to tell my blind and low vision travellers about the additional sensory aspects of the upcoming audio described performance of Barbara and the Camp Dogs. We consistently deliver sensory adventure for our travellers. With the expertise of Penny and her team, we can now add a little drama.” said founder of Cocky Guides, James McFarlane.

Merrigong Theatre Company will also transcribe their seasonal café menu into Braille.

“I was excited to learn that a regular Cocky Guides traveller Samantha Noonan from Wollongong has launched DealInDots, a local Braille transcription service. We have engaged Samantha to create our café menu in Braille for our patrons with sight loss.” Penny said.

The audio described performance of Barbara and the Camp Dogs will be held at Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in Wollongong on Saturday 8th June 2019. Tickets available by contacting the box office on 02 4224 5999.

For an event package with transport from Sydney, contact Cocky Guides by phone on 1300 657 640 or visit cockyguides.com.au/tours

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