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Audio description project for plays

/ Posted By Dino Squillino

As seen in the Herald today an article on our exciting new project with The National Theatre of Scotland supported by Nesta's R&D Fund.

"It has performed plays in drill halls, swimming pools, offices and a Wall of Death.

Now shows by Scotland's national theatre company could be sent to the smart phones and tablets of audience members who need captions or audio descriptions.The National Theatre of Scotland will experiment with the new technology so that its guiding vision of "Theatre Without Walls" is also one without barriers to the visually impaired or hard of hearing.

The system of captions and audio descriptions is being developed with Glasgow firm We Are Everyone to create a web-based tool accessible through iPhones, iPads or android phones. It will relay captions and audio description directly to members of the audience in real time during live theatre performance.

The NTS stages productions in unusual locations or with different audience movement, with standard audio description headphones and screens often showing captions unavailable or impractical.

Marianne Maxwell, the audience development manager at NTS, said: "The company is currently in Shetland in a quarry [part of Ignition], we recently produced a show [Lifeguard] in a public baths, and what we want to do is offer as much access to the audience as we can.

"But with the current headsets and subtitling sets, the captioning units, they have limited use outside standard theatres.

"The question is how do we address that and we need to find a way and to test it."It will be a very interesting process for us and we want to not only be a theatre without walls, but one without barriers, too."

By Phil Miller
Arts Correspondent
The Herald


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