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Press Release - ADA Urges theatres to remember visually Impaired when streaming content 14.5.20

Audio Description Association urges theatres to remember visually impaired viewers when streaming their content.

The Audio Description Association (ADA) is calling on theatres not to forget their visually impaired patrons when streaming content online. Well over 2 million people in the UK have sight loss and audio description services can enable them to access content that would otherwise be closed to them.

Following the streaming of Twelfth Night by the National Theatre, which included an AD stream, it is evident that there is a desire for this content. After the first 24 hours the stream with Audio Description had been accessed over 35k times, compared with 218k times for the primary stream.

ADA is calling on theatres, and major broadcasters, to provide this access where appropriate, to reach out to audio describers who may have provided audio description in venues when the work was first performed, and to remember that there are an army of audio describers whose current work, and income have disappeared due to the COVID-19 emergency, many of whom would be open to creating new audio description tracks for broadcast. ADA is on hand to offer advice and guidance to any theatres looking to provide this service.

ADA Chair, Neil Reading, said, “Lockdown and isolation are taking their toll on all of us, and people with visual impairments are finding resources, support and services on which they have relied for decades are suddenly in limited supply. Entertainment and culture are an oasis for us all at this difficult time and making these provisions accessible to all should be a priority for all venues and theatremakers, especially those who are benefitting financially from these live-streamed events. There is a market of over 2 million people who can be accessed by adding these essential services. We welcome the campaigns being led by our colleagues in the field of BSL and captioning; audio description should be no different.”

Chair, Neil Reading, is available for interview email:

For further information please email Tim at

Audio Description Association webpage:

Twitter: @audiodescribe

About audio description

Audio description provides an additional commentary for the audience member, allowing greater access for blind and partially sighted people to a range of media, entertainment and culture.

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