Welcome to the 27th edition of The Interval, our weekly listing of accessible arts and culture. This week we’ve got a mix of opera, fine art, documentary, radio, dance clubs and zoom festivals, rounded off with a spot of virtual tourism down under. As ever, all is #Audio or #AudioDescribed.
National Gallery, Art Through Words online
While the National Gallery in London has re-opened their doors, their programme of audio-described talks is now online. Upcoming are:
Velázquez’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, Zoom, Thursday, 29 October, 10.30am duration 1 hour, with Belle Smith and Caroline Smith.
Piero della Francesca’s ‘The Baptism of Christ’, Zoom, Thursday, 26 November, 10.30am duration 1 hour, with Katy Tarbard and Marc Woodhead.
Museum-lovers, don’t forget, you can still book for Tantra at the British Museum, audio description by VocalEyes describer Lonny Evans, Zoom, 13 October 2020, 14.30 pm
Lammermuir Festival: The Diary of One Who Disappeared, audio-described, duration: 40 minutes.
Recorded from a live concert performance direct from Theatre Royal Glasgow.
A naive young farmer’s son falls desperately in love with a wild gypsy girl. Will he abandon his family, his community and his whole way of life to satisfy his fiery passions? Part dramatic song cycle, part miniature opera, Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared is an unorthodox, unclassifiable work – but one that shows the composer at his most overtly sensual, in a timeless tale of illicit love and hot-headed seduction that shatter boundaries between cultures.
Vital Xposure, Voices from the Knitting Circle, duration: 37 minutes
A documentary that provides a chilling glimpse into the secret worlds and stolen years inside the long care asylums that closed in 1980s. The film, available until Sunday 15 November, includes captions and audio description. Vital Xposure are keen to know what people think of the film, including any comments on accessibility. Contact them at [email protected] or using this Google Form https://forms.gle/GnQJE3xLt3CFUrdu6.
BBC Radio 4, Anatomy of Touch, 2 episodes available, 3 upcoming
What does touch mean to us and how has the need for touch changed because of Covid-19? Claudia Hammond reveals the BBC Touch Test results. Featuring researchers and guests Greg James, Jess Thom, Touretteshero and Professor Ophelia Deroy.
Dance / social
National Theatre of Scotland and All The Queens Men, LGBTI+ Elders Social Dance Club: Dance Through The Decades, 11 October, 2.00pm – 3.30pm online.
Calling all LGBTI+ Elders and allies! Dust off your dancing shoes, charge your glasses and join Dance Through The Decades in partnership with SQIFF. With special guest speaker writer, director, actor and performer Johnny McKnight. The session is audio-described.
Bi Pride UK, BiFi Festival
Bi Visibility Day was on 23 September 2020. Bi Pride UK have made available audio-described versions of the BiFi Festival programme on their YouTube channel
Sidney Opera House
Finally, though they aren’t new, we thought that they were too good to miss: a bit of virtual tourism. We start off with an audio description of one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall. The building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, visited by more than eight million people annually.
We follow that with two audio-described videos of artists’ projections onto the famous sails and an interactive audio-described VR tour.
Audio-described tour of the Sydney Opera House, audio, duration: 20 minutes.
Listen as tour guide Rebekah describes spaces and places behind the scenes at the Sydney Opera House and uncovers the history of this iconic building through untold anecdotes and fun facts.
Ash Bolland and Amon Tobin, Lighting the Sails: Audio Creatures, for Vivid Live (2017), audio-described, duration 16 minutes)
Sydney creative Ash Bolland paired with tailor-made soundscapes by Brazil’s foremost sound designer Amon Tobin. Bolland initially honed his skills in detailed, precise 3D art and striking graphic design before working as a writer and director for Nintendo and more of the world’s biggest ad campaigns. Amon Tobin’s career in electronic music and audio manipulation spans over 20 years, most famously through his spikey, propulsive, uncompromising work for Ninja Tune and on the Cannes Palme d’Or nominated film, Divine Intervention.
The pair collaborated on a visceral, visionary work to transport onlookers of Jorn Utzon’s famous sails to a parallel universe beneath the harbour line and beyond the jungle walls.
There is also an audio-described Audio Creatures VR Experience (duration 2 minutes)
Badu Gilli, audio-described video (2018), duration 7 minutes.
Badu Gili, meaning ‘water light’ in the language of the traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people – is a daily experience that explores ancient First Nations stories in a spectacular seven-minute projection, illuminating Sydney Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sail year-round at sunset.
A celebration of the rich history and contemporary vibrancy of Australia’s First Nations culture, Badu Gili continues the traditions of Bennelong Point (om which the Opera House sits), formerly known as Tubowgule (‘where the knowledge waters meet’), a gathering place for community, ceremony and storytelling for thousands of years.
Other events from previous editions still taking bookings
Crossing Care, Thursday 8 October 7.30pm, (email [email protected] for Zoom link)
Extant’s Eye Say, Eye Say, Eye Say!, comedy on 17 October, 6.00 – 7.30pm
New descriptive audio feature on YouTube, We’d be interested in your thoughts: comments are open on the article.
Marking the 10th anniversary of the Equality Act coming into force and in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, VocalEyes, along with 11 other audience accessibility organisations and networks and two government sector champions have come together to form the Audience Access Alliance, and have published an open letter of support championing precious gains made towards inclusion.
Image: Lighting the Sails, Sydney Opera House, photo credit Daniel Boud