Access in the arts in the United Kingdom

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Audio description for theatre in the UK is mainly provided by Vocal Eyes, with some local volunteers covering other sites. Most of the performances are in London, with some in other venues across the country.

From 2007 - 2010 Vocal Eyes undertook a collaborative United Kingdom Arts Council-funded project with Stagetext, the United Kingdom's premier theatre captioning provider.

'See A Voice' was a three-year program designed to expand access to theatres across the United Kingdom. Local theatres across England were divided into four regional areas and worked as a cluster.

Theatre staff were trained in audio description and captioning, and shared equipment to provide these services in-house. This approach the cost of captioning and audio description virtually halved for some theatres, proving a more sustainable method of access service delivery.

This is a trend that is emerging in Europe where access is treated as a single issue and the various organisations covering the different disabilities tend to collaborate.

A visit to a museum or gallery in the United Kingdom is possible through the use of audio guides. These services can be in the form of audio picture description, optional orientation information of highlights from permanent displays, podcasts, downloadable tours or mobile phone tours.

You can access these services in various museums and galleries including the Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court.

Audio description is also available to tour architecturally significant buildings. The O2, Royal Albert Hall and 30 St Mary Axe (commonly known as The Gherkin) are among many buildings featured in these tours.

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