painting showing two women at table with red checked cloth

The Interval #5

Welcome to the 5th edition of The Interval – VocalEyes’ weekly selection of accessible cultural experiences available remotely until our favourite venues re-open their doors. This week’s contributions are from the VocalEyes user panel and Jess Beal, Marketing and Audience Manager.

Twelfth Night: online and audio-described

We are delighted that National Theatre at Home have created an audio-described video of Twelfth Night. It will be streamed on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel on Thursday 23 April at 7pm and will be available for seven days. You can even listen to the audio introductory notes before enjoying the performance. This is a great start to accessible digital content and we look forward to more productions online from the NT and others that include audio description.

Planes, trains and canes

Follow the adventures of blind traveller Dr Mona Minkara in this 5-part YouTube documentary series, winner of the 2019 Holman Prize. Follow her journey to explore travelling round five cities on public transport.

Colourful artists

Although art galleries are currently closed, we can look back at some recent highlights of exhibitions you may have visited with an audio-described tour. Enjoy the bold colours from French artist Pierre Bonnard in The 2019 Colour of Memory exhibition at Tate Modern. Read these essentials to find out all you need to know about the French painter. We look forward to when Tate can restart their monthly audio-described tours.

David Hockney at Royal Academy of Art

Acclaimed British artist who also uses lots of colour in his works, David Hockney has had two major exhibitions at The Royal Academy with ‘A Bigger Picture’ in 2012 and ‘82 Portraits and One Still-Life’ in 2016. Relive both by watching the documentary Inside two blockbuster Hockney exhibitions.

The  monthly audio description tours at the Royal Academy will also be a welcome return as soon as possible.

Flowers for Mrs. Harris

Chichester Festival Theatre’s website is currently streaming this play until Friday 8 May. The audio introductory notes are available to download or stream from VocalEyes’ website.

The joy of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

Glorious music from Beethoven to lift our spirits during lock down. Listen to conductor Marin Alsop talking us through the celebrated 9th Symphony from suspense through a range of emotions culminating in a finale of joy. Southbank Centre has also put together a playlist of essential Beethoven to enjoy.

10 best Shakespeare plays

It will soon be Shakespeare’s birthday. Read the results from Time Out’s 2016 vote on the 10 best Shakespeare plays. Romeo and Juliet is currently streaming on the Shakespeare’s Globe player with audio introductory notes available.

Foyle’s Young Poet Award 2020

Entries are now open for Foyle’s Young Poet of the Year 2020 for 11-17 year olds. Entries will be accepted in Braille and BSL. Contact [email protected] for more information. Get creative and enter by midnight on 31 July 2020. Full details here.

Birds and baking

With many people listening to birdsong and turning to baking during lock down here is a great way to combine both and fun for you and kids alike. Encourage the birds to your window by making them a fat cake with this recipe from the National Trust. Then see if you can identify the birds with this useful guide from the Woodland Trust.

Limericks and riddles

We challenged the VocalEyes user panel to write a limerick using the first line ‘There was an ambassador from VocalEyes…’

Written by Steve:

There was an ambassador from Vocaleyes

Who was just so descriptively wise,

Whether at theatre’s or shows,

Their wisdom just flows

Before they munch on the tastiest of pies


Written by Jess:

There was an ambassador from VocalEyes

Who went to the theatre to socialise

A touch tour of the set

Then what else did she get

Great audio description well that’s no surprise!


We’d love you to have a go at your own limerick. Send them in, and well publish the best.

Another challenge this week is to solve these riddles. Good luck, and answers next week.

  1. What question can you never answer yes to?
  2. What begins with an “e” and only contains one letter?
  3. What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps?
  4. I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even.

Information resources for visually impaired and disabled people

Many organisations are now providing information to help blind and partially sighted people. Here’s a selection for your interest:

London Vision – COVID-19 Resources

Sight Advice FAQ – COVID-19 Information

Research Institute for Disabled Consumers – Useful Links

The Macular Society has created an audio version of the Government’s Covid-19 guidance letter and information leaflet. Although you were able to request an alternative format for this information it would have taken some time to be sent out. You can listen to the Macular Society’s version of the letter here and the recording of the leaflet here.

Thank you to all our contributors for this week’s Interval. Please stay well and keep in touch with VocalEyes by emailTwitter or Facebook.

Image, Pierre Bonnard, Pierre Bonnard, Coffee, 1915