Guest Post: VocalEye Newsletter, Spring 2017, Specializing in Audio Description of Live Performances in Vancouver and Victoria

2) Described Performances in March and April:
3) Bittergirl at the Surrey Arts Centre
4) Angels in America at the Arts Club Stanley
5) Mom’s the Word 3 at the Arts Club Granville Island
6) Community:
7) Audio Subtitles
8) Coming Up:
Plex Talk Raffle
Alice Munro Stories at the Belfry
Comedy on Wheels for Realwheels
9) Support
10) Reminders

[This month’s opening image is a photo of a yawning bunny rabbit.]

This spring’s schedule is so loaded that I’m doubling up this issue! I’ve been invited to lead a describer training at the new Tangled Art Gallery in Toronto at the end of March. Tangled is the first art gallery in Canada dedicated to showcasing the work of artists with disabilities. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work with them to make their gallery more accessible to visitors with vision loss. (

I will get back in time to meet a grant deadline at the beginning of April… This tight squeeze means I won’t be able to send you an April newsletter, so I’m loading you with all the info I have on our upcoming shows. Please visit the VocalEye website for updates and support materials and keep in touch through Facebook and Twitter.

March will be a bit quiet for described performances, with Bittergirl at the Surrey Arts Centre and the launch of our “audio subtitle” project this weekend. If you’re craving even more comedy and drama this month, check out PlayMe, an innovative audio podcast that celebrates the work of Canadian playwrights and performers. (

If you’re looking for more podcasts, check out Aroga’s ATBanter and their most recent interview with Master Chef, Christine Ha. (

Or try A History of the World in 100 Objects, a look at human history through 100 objects from the British Museum. (

In case you missed it, this AMI video highlights VocalEye’s partnership with the Push Festival, Ingrid’s description and our first pre-show Touch Tour of Concord Floral last month. Big thanks to Erin Brubacher, Anika Vervecken, Grant Hardy and everyone who attended the show! (

Rick Waines is busy describing his second season at the Belfry in Victoria and he sent us some lovely photos from the Touch Tour of last month’s show, Gracie. Our thanks to everyone who attended and to Jenn Swan and Erin Macklem for sharing some of the production’s backstage secrets!

In April, Rick returns to Vancouver to describe two performances of the award-winning Angels in America, Part 1 at the Arts Club Stanley. The Arts Club will produce Part 2 next season, so don’t miss it!

PAWS Trivia night is always so much fun and it turned out to be my lucky day as I won the coveted 50/50 draw for the second year in a row! More fuel for VocalEye! I want to thank our awesome Faux Paws team: Jeff and Meagan, Eileen Barrett, Rick Lin, Brian Nicol, Teri Snelgrove and Anika Vervecken for your impressive smarty pants. Big thanks to Wendy, Rosamund and Moose’s Down Under for hosting another great evening that supports PAWS for Independence! (

I’ve received a number of inquiries about describing shows at the Queen Elizabeth and these take the most time to negotiate. Once again, I encourage you to let the producers know you’re interested in having shows described.
I’ve also been talking to several dance companies about describing dance. This would involve some special training and workshops with describers, choreographers, dancers and members of the blind community. Our resources are limited and we want to make the best use of them. Please let me know if you would be interested in having dance described, what kind of dance interests you and if you would like to participate in a development workshop (you can reply to this newsletter). If there is enough interest, we will pursue some funding for this project.

Time to get hopping!

Wishing you a happy spring with loads of chocolate bunny eggs!



BITTERGIRL, a new musical featuring the best breaking up and making up songs of the 60’s (on tour). Described on Saturday March 4, 2017 at 4 pm at the Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey. Tickets are $25 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-501-5566.

ANGELS IN AMERICA, PART ONE: MILLENIUM APPROACHES, an award-winning modern epic that tackles life, death, love, sex, heaven, hell, AIDS, Reaganism and redemption in 1980’s New York. Described on Sunday April 16, 2017 at 2 pm and on Wednesday April 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm at the Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase.

MOM’S THE WORD 3: NEST HALF EMPTY, a touching and hilarious new chapter in the lives of Vancouver’s favourite Moms. Described on Tuesday April 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm at the Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase. This performance will be followed by a Talk Back with the cast.

Theatre Buddies are available to guide VocalEye Members 18 years of age and over from a designated meet up location to and from selected theatres in the lower mainland. Reserve your Theatre Buddy by calling 604-364-5949 or send us an email ( (48 hours notice is required). In Victoria, please contact Linda Bartram at 250-595-5888.


Audio subtitling is a new program VocalEye is offering in partnership with the Kids Culture Film Series and Reel2Real International Film Festival for Youth to make foreign language films with English subtitles more accessible to young children and to others who have difficulty reading print materials. The English subtitles will be read aloud and transmitted through VocalEye equipment. Headsets are limited. Please reserve when booking your tickets.

ANINA is an animated film from Uruguay suitable for children age 5 and up. This film is in Spanish with English subtitles and will be screened on Sunday, March 5 at 1 pm at The Rio, 1660 East Broadway at Commercial Drive. Advisory: some scenes of child nightmares. Kids $7 and Adults $10 in advance or $8 and $12 at the door. (

Anina Yatay Salas is a ten-year-old whose name spells trouble: those three palindromes in a row are an ongoing source of teasing at school. When a playground fight results in mysterious punishment, Anina will learn to put her problems in perspective and empathize with others in this sweet little daydream of a tale.

HEIDI is a Swiss-German film with English subtitles suitable for children age 9 and up. Screening on Saturday, April 8 at 2 pm at the Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver. Tickets are Kids $7 and Adults $10. (

Heidi is one of the most beloved and best-selling books ever written. Director Alain Gsponer’s fresh take on this classic tale conjures everything that is magical about the precocious orphan girl who is sent to live with her mysterious grandfather (Bruno Ganz, Downfall) in the Swiss Alps. When Heidi is whisked away by her aunt to a posh house in the city, her worldview expands rapidly. A term of Heidi’s lodging and education is that she is expected to provide companionship to Clara, the lonely, wheelchair-bound daughter of this well-to-do family. This is hardly a chore since goofing around with her new friend is decidedly fun, and Heidi is up for adventure. Ultimately, she finds herself caught between her friendship with Clara, and longing for the freedom of mountain life. Heidi is an epic tale of friendship, family, and following your instincts.

** 8) COMING UP…

We’ll launch our third raffle of a Plex Talk Mini, generously donated by Aroga Technologies, on May 1! (

ALICE MUNRO STORIES, the sublime words and blessed humanity of Canada’s celebrated author come to life.. Described on Sunday May 7, 2017 at 2 pm at the Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Avenue in Victoria. Tickets are $24.68 for VocalEye users plus a 25% discount for a companion, while they last. Please call 250-385-6815 to purchase. This performance will be followed by a Touch Tour.

VocalEye will also describe COMEDY ON WHEELS for Realwheels on May 18, 19 and 20.

In June, we’ll offer training workshops in sighted guiding, Fingerworks for Fireworks and introductory description. Filmmaker Sarah Race will begin shooting her documentary short about our fireworks project this summer as well. Dates and details still to be confirmed.

In July, we’ll be back at Bard on the Beach for two shows in the main stage tent with Touch Tours. Plus summer musicals at the Arts Club, Theatre Under the Stars, the Vancouver Pride Parade and more!

** 9) SUPPORT…
VocalEye will describe more than 40 performances and events this season for people who are blind and partially sighted, thanks to the generous contributions of our funders and supporters (

We gratefully acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, our Community Donors and Individual Donors for their critical financial and in-kind support. VocalEye is currently in the process of becoming a registered charity and will not be able to issue tax receipts for donations until our application is approved. In the meantime, donations are greatly appreciated from anyone not requiring a tax receipt.

We thank you for helping us provide people with vision loss greater access to arts and culture.


* VocalEye’s complete season of described performances can be found on our website ( .
* Tickets and headsets must be reserved by calling the theatre, unless instructed otherwise.
* Be sure to mention VocalEye when booking your tickets to receive any discounts offered and indicate whether you have partial vision, a guide dog or other seating preferences. Seating options may be limited.
* Arrive early to pick up your equipment so you can be seated in time for a sound check and to listen to our pre-show introduction that includes brief descriptions of the set, characters and costumes. These begin 10 minutes before curtain.
* Our handheld receivers come with a single earpiece that can be worn on the left or right ear, or you can use your own earbuds or headphones. The audio signal is mono, so it will come through on only one side.
* VocalEye Memberships are FREE for people with vision loss.
* VocalEye Members are eligible for Theatre Buddy assistance, ticket discounts and equipment pickup without a deposit.
* VocalEye newsletters are available in your choice of formats: Plain Text or HTML with images. Both include a link at the top to a simple Word Doc format.
* VocalEye respects your right to privacy. We will not rent, sell or trade our list. Our mailings are intended to inform you of our events, programs, services and fundraising activities. You may unsubscribe at any time.
* You can help us spread the word about described performances and arts access for people with vision loss by sharing this newsletter with those in your network.

Thank you for reading through. See you at the theatre!