Welcome to The Interval (#13), VocalEyes’ weekly selection of accessible cultural experiences available online. This week’s guest-editor is Vicky Ackroyd, access champion and audio describer. With a selection of theatre, dance, film, art, cookery and yoga, she’s stepping away from the bigger companies this week, to see what’s on offer elsewhere.
Let’s start in Yorkshire with Unsung Collective’s acclaimed theatre show, Unsung by Lisa Holdsworth. After a successful UK tour last year, it should have been back out on tour right now, but not to be thwarted by a pandemic, the show has been adapted into a radio play created entirely under lockdown. Join the visionary mathematician Ada Lovelace as she attempts to calculate why women’s achievements have been relegated to the footnotes of history, using the trials and triumphs of three other inspirational female figures from our past. The play is free to listen to, though you can join the company by making a donation and supporting Leeds Women’s Aid. Available across various streaming platforms.
Harrogate Theatre offer their delightful, weekly Story Circle sessions for children under 5. They usually run in their circle bar, but have been transferred online here. They’re each about 15 minutes long, with integrated audio description.
I know touring company Paines Plough are quite big, but they’ve created a digital programme called Come To Where I Am – a series of stories and plays exploring writers’ relationships with the places they call home. While not audio described, most are simply one actor on the screen.
At the start, each film has the same message which asks us to consider donating to support their work, before a green title screen signals the start of the piece with ‘Come To Where I Am’ in a sign pointing off left, and ‘Stories And Plays From The Places That Shape Us’ on the right. Both are written in white.
Graeae have released their show Reasons To Be Cheerful. Part-gig, part-play, it tells a coming of age tale that rejoices in the infectious and enduring music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. It’s available until 3 August . There’s an audio version of the show from the 2017 production. And here’s the film version, as recorded at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Homemakers is a series of new commissions from Manchester HOME where artists create work at home for an audience at home. Most, though not all, are audio-described.
A Younger Theatre, a theatre publication exclusively run and aimed at creative people aged between 16 and 35, have interviews with lots of interesting people on their YouTube channel, including theatre critic Lyn Gardner, Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham, and director Roy Alexander Weise.
Unspoken Spoken is a dance film by Candoco Dance Company from 2018, directed and choreographed by Fin Walker, performed by disabled and non-disabled dancers.
Stopgap Dance Company have shared Artificial Things directed by Sophie Fiennes. Filmed on location in a derelict suburban shopping mall and featuring an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers, the film explores human interdependence, strength, and vulnerability.
Eleven Doors is A Moving Postcard from Kneehigh’s Walk With Me project. Voiced by Dawn French, written by Anna Maria Murphy – it’s just over 3 mins long so only a short watch
The Interviewer is an Australian film from Bus Stop Films Inclusive Filmmaking. It’s about a man with Down’s Syndrome interviewing a non-disabled man for a job in a solicitors. It’s been around a while, but it’s still got something to say about unconscious bias! It’s audio-described and captioned.
The Harris Museum in Preston offers a selection of audio-described exhibitions.
Unfurlings is an exhibition of banners created by groups of people living with dementia, or supporting those with dementia. As well as a description of the banner, you can hear poems commissioned from Ian McMillan and a little about each group.
The Artful Line is co-curated by The Harris and The Courtauld Gallery, and features ten audio-described works, including drawings from Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Frank Auerbach. You will hear label and contextual information as well as the descriptions.
The third exhibition, More T’ North is a contemporary exhibition with young Northern artists, creating works which respond to their Northern-ness and celebrate the Northern perspective. Again, you will hear audio descriptions, background information and the artists talking about their work.
Health and Wellbeing
Yoga and sourdough bread-making seem to have been popular distractions during lockdown. I found an audio-described yoga video. I know there’s already been one (The Interval, #8), but another can’t hurt. Here’s an audio-described yoga session for beginners by Elli who has been teaching Yoga to people with sight loss for over 5 years.
However, I’ve failed you on the audio-described sourdough, sorry. What I have found is a chicken and mango stirfry, a masterclass with Paralympian Lora Fachie, a visually impaired English racing cyclist.
Both are brought to you by Henshaws, the northern charity supporting people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities. They also have lots of other interesting films about living with a visual impairment.
And if you’re supporting someone with complex needs who may have a visual impairment, Pyramid of Arts are a fantastic organisation based in Leeds who have created a list of suggestions for ways to create an immersive and sensory environment using sound and light.
Image: Unsung Collective
You might also be interested in:
Old Vic In Camera: streams Lungs with audio description