Madame de Tourvel, in an eighteenth-century style frock of sage green and white lace, together with satin pointe shoes, leans back against Valmont, who wears a loose white shirt. Their right arms are both raised, pointing to the top left corner, and their gaze follows. Behind, a chaise longue with a backdrop of swirling red clouds.

Help Northern Ballet and VocalEyes improve and develop their digital and theatre audio description

Audio-described digital ballet films

Throughout the pandemic VocalEyes has continued to work with Northern Ballet, producing audio description on two new short contemporary dance films. Have Your Cake and What Used to, No Longer Is are both available to watch here.

Northern Ballet would like to gather feedback from blind and visually impaired viewers on the audio description of these films.

Pippa Moore, Artistic and Learning Assistant at Northern Ballet, tells us how the digital work has helped Northern Ballet to reach a wider audience:

“The pandemic has been a challenging time for theatre and the arts and Northern Ballet has been no exception. However, we are delighted that through our collaboration with VocalEyes we have been able to reach our visually impaired audiences in a new, exciting way with the release of our first Audio Described dance films. Northern Ballet is committed to making dance as inclusive and accessible as possible and whilst nothing can replace the visceral experience of visiting a theatre for our live performances, we are thrilled that these co-productions will allow us to engage with and entertain as many people as possible from all over the world, as we continue in our dedication to making dance for everyone.”

Many blind and visually impaired people have benefitted from digital experiences during lockdown, for many removing the barriers of travelling to venues has enabled them to enjoy a greater variety of work. One visually impaired viewer said

“I just wanted to say a big thank you and congratulations to all of you at Northern Ballet for this outstanding piece of work. I only have a tiny amount of residual sight left these days due to glaucoma, and so audio description makes a massive difference to me, all the more so with contemporary dance where vision is integral to understanding the story and concepts! Sitting in a theatre or dance studio is a bit of a pointless exercise for me, and so being able to see you work via the computer, with my nose pressed up against the screen, has re-opened a door for me.

But I also want to pay tribute to the remarkably high standard of work that I was able to view and listen to, and to thank everyone involved for their imagination, innovation, and creativity. It’s many years since I lived in the North and saw the Company’s work live, and so it is good to know that the artistic excellence has been maintained and developed.”

Live audio-described ballet performances

We are delighted to be working again with Northern Ballet on pre-recorded audio description for the upcoming season in Manchester, London, and Leeds. Tickets for Dangerous Liaisons at The Lowry on Saturday 5th June are only £10 for all blind and visually impaired audience members and a companion. Please contact their access line on 0161 876 2183 to take up this special offer.

Tour dates

Dangerous Liaisons, The Lowry, Manchester Saturday 5 June, 2pm

Dangerous Liaisons, Sadler’s Wells, Thursday 10 June, 2:30pm

Swan Lake, Leeds Grand Theatre, Saturday 26 June, 2:30pm

Get Involved

If you would like to help Northern Ballet and give your feedback on the audio described digital work please contact Nicola Phillips who will be able to send you a feedback form or collect  your responses over the phone.

To get involved with these exciting opportunities please contact Nicola Phillips who will be able to arrange tickets, send you a feedback form or collect your responses to either the video audio descriptions or pre-recorded in venue descriptions over the phone.