Had a great meeting with the Area Disability Arts Officer for Disability Arts Cymru, Rachel Stelmach.
I asked her for advice regarding audience inclusion.
People keep asking me 'who is your production aimed at' I reply 'a family audience' and then they ask me why I have gone to creative lengths in making the production accessible, at least on some level, to people who are deaf or have a visual impairment. They ask ... so is it a disability production. As a woman with a disability, that tickles me. No, Fusion Inspire is not funded as a 'disability' production but in my view ... All productions should consider access issues.
Funny isn't it, we all get it that the arts should be in buildings that people will be able to access in a wheelchair. So why should it be a surprise if I try to make integral to the performance, aspects that ensure someone with visual impairment or deafness can access my work?
In short, the production is for EVERYONE! and I want to consider some options that enable everyone to get some joy from it on some level!
I asked Rachel for the most cost effective ways of ensuring inclusion for those audience members who are deaf or with visual impairment and we have come up with these:
For those with a visual impairment:
I am already looking into aroma therapy to envoke coastline acqua smells, but Rachel suggested access to a recording that describes what is happening on the films. I will record them spoken word in the studio, save them as MP3's. These can be offered to people and downloaded on line in advance of the showings. I'll also take a few walkmans incase people come and have forgotten to order/download them.
For those who are deaf
I was already looking into having a qualified sign language /performer for those who use sign language as a form of communication but I just can't afford it ... Rachel suggested a powerpoint that runs alongside the Films with the lyrics. She has a package that brings up letters like an old type writer. I love that idea. I was thinking that the old map that Dafydd finds washed up on the beach of West Wales could be the background for it, but at the weekend I went on a 9 hour Dolphin Survey recording signature whistles and echo location. On the way back to dry land, I got some wicked pictures of the sunset, so I'm thinking it may be a good idea to use these instead.
So, you see, there are very easy ways to make the creative content accessible without any compromise to the overall effect of the production and without costing lots of money! Why don't you look at ways of developing audience inclusion too!
Here's a link to Disability Arts Cymru