Virginia Voice Live Audio Description Services

Community Partnership Plan

At Virginia Voice, we believe in the power of partnerships. We look forward to collaborating with your organization to create equitable access to arts, culture, and community for individuals in our region who live with blindness, low vision, or other disabilities.

What is Audio Description

Audio Description (AD) is a tool that Virginia Voice uses to advance and sustain equitable access for arts participation and access for everyone in Central Virginia.

How it Works – Community Partners

Virginia Voice has partnership opportunities available for theatres, museums, other arts organizations, event venues, universities, and schools. Through these partnerships, Virginia Voice works to assist private and public institutions in making their programs and facilities accessible and inclusive for people with blindness and other disabilities.

How it Works – Listeners

Live AD attendees use a single-ear headphone and a receiver to listen to the description as they are seated with the general audience.
Enjoying the performance or event with family and friends, patrons with blindness can have a fulfilling cultural experience using AD assistive technology that is convenient and unobtrusive.

How it Works – Audio Describers

1) Using a wireless transmitter, trained describers help attendees picture the visual aspects of the performance or event as it unfolds in real-time. Careful to not talk over the dialogue, describers bring the visual elements of theater, exhibits, and other events to life for this audience.
2) Describers use succinct, vivid, and imaginative words to convey the visual elements that may be completely inaccessible or partially accessible to attendees who are blind, have low vision, or have other disabilities.

Community Need

Research from the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired indicates there are approximately 55,000 individuals in Central Virginia who could benefit from audio described theater performances. Research from the National Federation of the Blind predicts that the number of people who are blind or have low vision could double by 2030. Currently, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in America. As the number of adults 60 years and older increases exponentially to 1 in 4 adults by 2030, according to the US Census bureau, so will the need for Virginia Voice services. In a Virginia Voice 2019 listener phone survey, 26% of our listeners told us that they do not attend local theater performances because of the lack of access to the visual elements that are central to the arts. Virginia Voice’s AD services are critical to ensuring access for the fastest growing segment of our population.

Partnership Priorities: It’s Easy as 1-2-3

1) Potential AD partners request Live and/or Recorded AD services at least 60 days before the date of the performance or event
2) Arrange a meeting and tour of the to discuss what is needed by both organizations, the implementation process, and all details to be included in the agreement.
3) Partnership agreement is drafted and signed with a schedule for delivery of services.