New audio description business flourishes in South Australia

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:36pm

Over the last four years a team of dedicated arts access workers in South Australia have worked towards establishing Access2Arts, a disability arts organisation that includes a professional audio description service to bring the arts to life for people who are blind or vision impaired. Access2Arts is soon to complete its first year of operation with a number of successful projects under its belt.

Formed in 2009 as Arts SA’s Disability and Arts Transition Team (DATT), initial purchase of audio description receivers and broadcasters allowed DATT to branch out and offer audio description to venues and arts companies not traditionally part of the fixed venue service, then offered by the Royal Society for the Blind.

Training of artists and arts workers as audio describers was undertaken with a focus on training lead by professional describers with extensive experience. With this in mind, professional UK audio describer Willie Elliot completed two residencies in 2011 and 2012 to lead the training. Audio describer Lara Torr recently won the British Council’s Realise Your Dream competition and is off to the UK for professional development.

In January this year, DATT completed its transition by launching Access2Arts. This new organisation can already boast of describing theatre, dance, outdoor events, entire programs for festivals and even a conference.

Access2Arts creative director Gaelle Mellis said, “Access2Arts is the culmination of consultation over three years where the resounding response to ‘I need… I wish…. I want…’ was that artists with disability and the broader arts and disability sector told us they wanted a disability-led arts and disability organisation which would listen to and understand their needs.

“Access2Arts has an unflinching vision to see that people with disabilities contribute fully to the richness and diversity of the arts and cultural sectors both as creators and audiences.”

There’ll be no rest for Access2Arts over the summer months with audio description already locked in for the 2014 Adelaide Festival Program.

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