Welcome to the first edition of The Interval. With thanks to audio describer Roz Chalmers for the description of the current period of our lives. We are all waiting with anticipation for the second half to start.
In the meantime, each week the VocalEyes team will be sharing with you an assorted collection of links: both material from our own archive and some of the best content being streamed and shared by arts and heritage organisations across the UK and the world. We’re also looking forward to the day when we can begin to share news of venues re-opening their doors.
If like us, you are missing your trip to a theatre for an audio-described show then why not relive some of your favourites from the last few years? Visit the VocalEyes What’s On archives where you can find the recorded Audio Introductions (in both Word and audio format) from previous performances going back to 2016, when our current website was launched.
If you’re a fan of musicals then listen to your favourite soundtrack on YouTube. Or if you’re missing the ballet why not go to BBC iPlayer and watch the audio-described programme of Darcey Bussell’s Ballet Heroes. The former ballerina celebrates some of the great male dancers with archive footage, interviews and backstage rehearsals.
London Beyond Sight
Imagine you are visiting the sights of London. Working with VocalEyes audio describers, 40 prominent Londoners were invited to talk about their favourite landmarks or hidden gems in the capital. Here’s a few to get you started.
Please note that because this series was recorded in 2012, some details may not be accurate today.
Test your knowledge with these 10 museum quiz questions. Send your answers to Jess and we’ll announce the winner and answers next week.
- The Churchill War Rooms in London is one of the five branches of which British national museum organisation?
- What is the name of the Viking museum and visitor attraction centre in York?
- Which type of museum in North Wales is connected to the nearby village of Llanberis by the Llanberis Lake Railway?
- Being one of the British Museum’s most popular attractions, what exactly are the 82 late twelfth-century carved items found on a beach on the Isle of Lewis, in 1831?
- Which type of national museum is located at Crich, Derbyshire, with over 60 main exhibits built between 1900 and 1930?
- The Tate network comprises of four galleries in England, two are Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London. Name the locations of the other two galleries.
- What is the street address of London’s National Gallery?
- Which British national museum, founded in 1952 by Lord Montagu, is located in the village of Beaulieu?
- The Prado Museum is in which European city?
- What type of museum was founded by the British broadcaster Gyles Brandreth?
It’s important to stay fit and healthy, even if you’re indoors. Here are some simple chair exercises to do at home (NHS website). For those of you wanting to get more active, check out the audio exercise class from Metro Blind Sports.
RNIB Reading Services gives you access to a large range of books to borrow, download and listen. You can also download eBraille books to read on a refreshable Braille device.
Local sight loss organisations’ coronavirus advice
Many sight loss organisations have changed the way they are working so they can best support the blind and partially sighted community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cam Sight, who offer support to blind and partially sighted people in Cambridgeshire, has produced a useful coronavirus update available as a Word document or audio. Listen to or download the newsletter.
VISTA Leicester is the local sight loss charity for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. They produce a monthly audio Newsline magazine available to download as a podcast. Local Talking Newspapers are also available to download. Find your local Talking Newspaper here.
Fun for kids
While your children are not at school here’s a great way to keep them busy while getting creative and having fun. Rainbow colouring pages has a selection of designs to print and colour. Then put their finished artwork in your window to brighten up your neighbours’ day.
Elevenses with the World of David Walliams
Take a break every day at 11am. For the next 30 days there’s a free audio story from David Walliam’s World’s Worst Children.
Keep in touch
Please do send us any suggestions or requests for material to include in future editions of The Interval, whether these are arts or heritage-related or more general information for the blind and partially sighted community. We continue to be active on social media so please like, follow or tweet us. The team are working from home, so you can’t call the office, but we’d love to hear from you via email, Twitter or Facebook.
This week’s edition of The Interval was written by Jess, Marketing and Audience Manager
Please support us
As you can imagine we are facing a severe loss of income over the coming months due to the closure of theatres, museums and heritage sites. If you feel that you can help us out with a donation, whether it’s a little extra spare cash or the price of a ticket refund, it will go a long way to ensure that VocalEyes will still be here, bringing arts and heritage to life through audio description, when the venues open their doors again. Please make a donation via JustGiving or learn about other ways you can support VocalEyes.
Image: Duke of York’s picturehouse.