Katherine Parkinson on stage in Shoe Lady

The Interval, #16, accessible culture online

Welcome to The Interval (#16), VocalEyes’ weekly selection of accessible cultural experiences available online. This week featuring TV, theatre, museums, events, interviews, podcasts, articles and a children’s book reading, compiled with submissions from some of our regular contributors.


Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads audio introductions

The BBC have recently released new versions of Alan Bennett’s much-loved monologues, with performers including Sarah Lancashire, Martin Freeman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Jodie Comer and Maxine Peake. A group of VocalEyes describers have provided an Audio Introduction for each episode, like you would get if they were on stage. You may recognise some familiar voices and there are some new ones you’ll be hearing a lot more of when we get back to your favourite theatres. Visit the VocalEyes website for a list of links to the AD version of each episode on BBC iPlayer, and a recorded Audio Introduction.


From the Royal Court Theatre, writer Rachel De-Lahay and director Milli Bhatia have commissioned ten writers to pen letters that say the unsaid, for a new, online version of their festival My White Best Friend (and Other Letters Left Unsaid).  Produced by Tobi Kyeremateng, the online festival will run over a week with a letter by Rachel De-Lahay read each night alongside two letters by some of the most exciting voices in the UK, including Amma Asante, Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Ryan Calais Cameron, Rachel De-Lahay, Clint Dyer, Afua Hirsch, Yasmin Joseph, Kuchenga, Tife Kusoro, Lettie Precious and Campbell X.

Alongside the readings, there will be music from DJ DLK every night. Book tickets online (£5-£12). Performances start at 6.30pm.

Extant Theatre, Rathband, by Christopher Hogg, Tuesday 14 July from 7pm, Free event on Zoom: Register here.

On 4 July 2010, 43-year-old PC David Rathband was shot and blinded in his patrol car in East Denton, Tyne and Wear by Raoul Moat. For an absurd week in July, Moat was worldwide headline news. Even Gazza turned up with beer, chicken and a fishing rod to try and help resolve the eventual police stand-off with the attacker. Somewhere in this maelstrom, a policeman was shot and Britain was changed. Become part of the event with the help of host, visually impaired actor Robin Paley Yorke.

Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe. There’s still time to watch the audio-described video of Macbeth, the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production created especially for young people. Filmed in early 2020 from Shakespeare’s most famous stage, the Globe Theatre, this 90-minute full scale production is available to watch until midnight on Sunday 26 July. Audio-described by Willie Elliot.

Such Stuff: The Shakespeare’s Globe Podcast goes behind the scenes at Shakespeare’s Globe, sharing the incredible stories and experiences that come through the doors. Recent episodes feature discussions surrounding Shakespeare and Race, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Shakespeare Diaries, which sees artistic director Michelle Terry and actor Paul Ready discuss Shakespeare’s plays from isolation.

Royal Shakespeare Company, Richard III in lockdown (Instagram video)

In the early days of lockdown some of the RSC’s current acting company recorded this version of the opening speech from Richard III.

Lockdown Theatre Festival

Only a few days left to listen on BBC Sounds!

Shoe Lady by E.V. Crowe. Staring Katherine Parkinson, directed by Vicky Featherstone. Viv has lost a shoe. They’re her work shoes, her weekend shoes, her only pair of shoes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The curtains are falling, her foot is bleeding, and she’s starting to feel a little overwhelmed. But all will be well in the world once she finds that missing shoe.

The Mikvah Project by Josh Azouz. Starring Alex Waldmann and Josh Zaré, directed by Georgia Green. Eitan is 17 and at college, and Avi is 35 and married. Their lives couldn’t be more different. But every Friday they meet at the Mikvah, to share in the Jewish ritual of immersion. This is a play about the courage it takes to confront our hidden desires.


 A set of three Audio Description films from Tate, each around 5 minutes in length, with a mix of wide and close shots of the artwork filmed in the gallery, accompanied by a voiceover providing audio description.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent, American artist 1856-1925.

No Woman, No Cry, by Chris Ofili, British Turner Prize-winning painter, born in 1968.

Babel, by Cildo Meireles, a conceptual artist born in 1948 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Virtual exhibitions | National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Regional Exhibitions: Paralympic Heritage Stories Cartwright Hall Art Gallery & Museum. In collaboration with Bradford Museums and Galleries the ‘Paralympic Heritage stories from Bradford’ regional exhibition ran from January to June 2019 in the beautiful setting of Cartwright Hall and the surrounding Lister Park.

Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

The Cooper Hewitt in New York is the only museum in the US devoted to historical and contemporary design; its collections and exhibitions explore approximately 240 years of design aesthetic and creativity.

Online audio description tour of The Senses: Design beyond Vision

Ellen Lupton, co-curator of the 2018 exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, provides a descriptive audio tour through two dozen projects in the exhibition. Approximately 30 minutes. More information about the exhibition.

Cooper Hewitt are also running live virtual visual description tours via Zoom, on the first Friday of each month 1:30pm – 3pm EDT, 6.30pm – 8pm British Summer Time), To sign up or enquire, email [email protected].

Staying in Touch: Addressing Concerns to Allow Tactile Exploration at Museums

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating new norms that discourage touching objects to curtail the spread of the virus. When public spaces reopen, understandable concern about disease transmission may lead museums to prohibit tactile exploration of objects, creating an unintended access barrier for blind people. A group of tactile artists and designers hope to start a conversation in the museum field by offering for consideration their expertise producing re-usable tactile handouts.


Rights in Light of Covid-19, Disability Justice, Tuesday 14 July, 7 – 8:30pm (free).

A discussion about how Coronavirus has impacted disability activism, rights for neuro-minorities, and socially engaged artistic practices in the UK. Speakers: Deborah Williams, Artist and CEO of Creative Diversity Network; Kate Adams, Artistic Director and CEO of Project Art Works, and disability rights activists Kevin Caulfield and Tara Flood.

Sight Village Virtual (on Queen Alexandra College’s Facebook page), Wednesday 22 July – Thursday 23 July, 10.00am – 2.00pm; an online event providing you with a series of videos, podcasts and interactive workshops from the UK’s leading providers of products and services for blind and visually impaired people.

Interview / articles

Voice is a magazine and platform for young creatives covering arts, culture, politics and technology

Want my job? An interview with audio describer Jenny Stewart-Cosgrove

Audio describer Jenny Stewart-Cosgrove gives some top tips on how to make your theatre or performance more accessible for the blind and partially sighted.


The latest episode of the Hay Festival Podcast is a conversation with Hilary Mantel about the concluding part of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. Previous episodes feature Gloria Steinem, Laura Bates, Michael Morpurgo, Caitlin Moran, Dame Judi Dench, Yuval Noah Harari, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and others.

Museums n’That, a podcast by Leeds Museums & Galleries. Museums attract passionate people like moths to a flame, and this podcast gets to the very heart of the things that make them tick, by asking the questions you actually want to know. Hosts Meg and Sara pour the tea over topics you never knew you needed to know about. Can you archive an orange? How do you clean a sculpture? What’s the greatest city in the world? (Spoiler alert: it’s Leeds).


Chichester Festival Theatre are releasing two chapters each day this week of Michael Morpurgo’s The Butterfly Lion on YouTube read by the author.  When Bertie is sent away from the African farm of his childhood to school in England, he leaves behind not only his beloved mother and the beautiful land, swarming with wildlife, but also his best friend – a white lion he rescued as a cub. Bertie’s struggle to adjust to his new life in harsh, grey England is alleviated only by a chance friendship with the equally lonely Millie and his dreams of his treasured lion, now trapped in a French circus. But their remarkable journey is only just beginning, and the pair are destined to meet again.

Photo: Katherine Parkinson in E.V. Crowe’s Shoe Lady at the Royal Court. Photo: Manuel Harlan