MAY 2018

In this issue:
Happy Mother’s Day!
Described Performances and Events:
June 2: Described Tour at the Vancouver Art Gallery
June 3 and 8: Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley
Coming Up:
July 3: Once at the Arts Club Granville Island
July 22 and Aug 18: As You Like It at Bard on the Beach
Theatre Buddies | Ticket Access | Support | Reminders
We wouldn’t be here without them!

Last month we set a new record for the most Theatre Buddy requests for Misery at the Arts Club Granville Island, plus an out-of-town guest from Toronto. Big thanks to our Theatre Buddies Tal, Avital, Sandy and Rick Lin for taking such good care of them!

I just got back from leading an introductory workshop in dance description with CRIPSiE (Collaborative Radically Integrated Performance Society in Edmonton). It was wonderful to work with such a talented group of creators who are making accessibility and inclusion a part of everything they do. The workshop was held at the Universiade Pavilion at the University of Alberta, a sports stadium covered in bright yellow tiles that has been aptly and affectionately nicknamed “the Butterdome” by the locals.

Back in Vancouver this month, we’re partnering with the Revolver Festival at the Cultch to make the festival more accessible. Join community consultants, Deb Fong and Cathy Browne, as they check out some Low Vision Friendly programming (recommended as accessible without description) at the Cultch. Tickets are $15 with a free companion rate and priority seating when you mention VocalEye, 604-251-1363 (the Reading Series is free!).

June begins with two fabulous events: a described tour of Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman at the Vancouver Art Gallery on June 2; and two described performances of Mamma Mia at the Arts Club Stanley on June 3 and 8.

Then I fly off to Ottawa to lead a describer/access training at the new Ottawa Art Gallery. The next edition of this newsletter will be out around mid-June with details on accessible and affordable Low Vision Friendly programming at this year’s Indian Summer Festival, updates on our continuing explorations with All Bodies Dance and more described performances.

I will leave you with a photo of the Butterdome and a couple of photos from the Touch Tour of Salt Baby at the Belfry. Big thanks to our volunteers Barbara and Frances, describer/photographer Rick Waines, artistic associate Erin Macklem, Linda Bartram and the Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture and all our patrons for another great year of described performances in Victoria. We look forward to spending next season with you!



The Butterdome, Edmonton (above). Patrons at the Touch Tour following Salt Baby at the Belfry (below).


VocalEye is delighted to celebrate BC Access Awareness Day at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver on Saturday, June 2 from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Join us for a special Described Tour of Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman, facilitated by Steph Kirkland, Founder and Executive Director of VocalEye, and Art Educators Marie-France Berard and Lynn Chen. This enhanced Gallery tour is designed for people who are blind and partially sighted; however, all are welcome to attend.

Refreshments and a feedback session will follow the tour. As this is the first Described Tour led by the Gallery, we seek your participation and responses to help us create meaningful and inclusive services for non-visual learners and all visitors with vision loss.

Admission is free. Please register in advance by calling 604-662-4700 or RSVP online.

Sighted guides are available to escort visitors with vision loss to and from the Vancouver Art Gallery for this event. If you require a sighted guide, please arrange when you register by phone (604-662-4700) or email buddies@vocaleye.ca. The meet-up location will be at the ticket level of the Burrard Skytrain Station at 2:45 pm. Sighted guides will return visitors to this location at the end of the event at 5 pm or earlier, as needed.

Mamma Mia! One of the most popular musicals of all time, described by Anika Vervecken on Sunday, June 3 at 2 pm and again on Friday, June 8 at 8 pm at the Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver. Tickets start at $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-687-1644. VocalEye’s new Ticket Access Program provides rebates for those in financial need. Theatre Buddies are also available to guide members to and from the theatre from a convenient meet-up location. Please contact Donna for more details on both programs: buddies@vocaleye.ca (deadline to book a buddy or a rebate is one week before the described performance).

A daughter’s quest to find her biological father before her wedding brings together three men from her mother’s past. Who will walk her down the aisle? Will she find out before saying “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”? This summer musical will transport you to a Greek island paradise filled with ABBA-tastic hits like “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” and “S.O.S.”

Check out ABBA’s 1974 Mamma Mia music video, with original hairdos and white jumpsuits!

Song List
Plot Summary

Once, a captivating do-it-yourself musical, described by Ingrid Turk on Tuesday July 3 at 7:30 pm at the Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver. Tickets start at $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-687-1644. This performance will be followed by a Talk Back with the cast.
As You Like It, Shakespeare meets the Beatles in this 60’s staging, described on Sun July 22 at 2 pm and Sat August 18 at 7:30 pm at Bard on the Beach, MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver. Bard offers a special ticket rate for VocalEye users. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase tickets and reserve headsets. Seating on the left side of the audience is recommended for best reception. The matinée performance on Sunday July 22 will be followed by a Touch Tour.


Theatre Buddies are available to guide VocalEye Members, 18 years of age and up, from a designated meet up location to and from selected theatres. To reserve a Buddy in Vancouver, please contact buddies@vocaleye.ca
In Victoria, contact Linda Bartram at 250-595-5888. Buddies must be arranged 3 days in advance.

VocalEye strives to lower barriers for members in financial need by providing rebates to reduce the price of admission to described shows. Members in Vancouver and the lower mainland can apply for assistance by contacting buddies@vocaleye.ca.
In Victoria, please contact lbartram@telus.net.
VocalEye is now a registered charity (#80166 6702 RR0001) and able to issue tax deductible receipts for monthly donations or individual donations of any size. Please include all your contact information for receipt purposes. VocalEye season supporters are gratefully acknowledged on our website


A complete listing of VocalEye described performances and events can be found on our website.
Tickets must be purchased by calling the theatre’s Box Office unless instructed otherwise.
Be sure to mention VocalEye when booking your tickets to receive any discounts offered and to reserve your headset. Please 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. A live pre-show introduction to the set, characters and costumes will 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 one side only.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for reading through. See you at the theatre!

Images: Boaz Joseph/Surrey Leader, Steph Kirkland, Rick Waines, Shutterstock and the interwebs

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Guest Post: VocalEye August 2017 Newsletter

Image: dog’s face in a sprinkler

1) Hot Dog Days!
2) Described Performances and Events:
Aug 2: Celebration of Light Fireworks
3) Aug 6: Vancouver Pride Parade
4) Aug 11: The Drowsy Chaperone at Theatre Under the Stars
5) Aug 27: Accessible Fringe 101
6) Last Call for Raffle Tickets
7) Buddies
8) Support
9) Reminders

The dog days of summer are upon us and there’s still fun to be had! This month, we describe 3 spectacular outdoor events and we’ll be handing out free Fringe Memberships to VocalEye users who attend ($5 value). (https://www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer)

We’ll put our Fingerworkers to the test tomorrow at the Celebration of Light (August 2). This event is pretty much “sold out”, but we might have room for one or two more. Check with Donna, buddies@vocaleye.ca

Happy Pride Week! We are thrilled to partner with the Vancouver Pride Society for our third year, making the Pride Parade more accessible with live description. Allan and Eileen are very excited to describe the parade for you. Seats and headsets are still available and we hope you can join us for this fun, free, fantastic event! Reserve your spot with Donna, buddies@vocaleye.ca

I just got a phone call today from the Vancouver WhiteCaps and they’re offering Pride Partners a special deal that I’m passing on to all of you: tickets to the Sat August 19 game (Vancouver vs Houston) for $27 (regular price is around $60). Support Pride Night will include pre-show events and the first 1,000 ticket holders will receive a complimentary pair of Pride shoelaces (rainbow stripes, natch!). Contact Adrien at 604.669.9283 ext. 2804 or alafleche@whitecapsfc.com and mention VocalEye (you may want to call just to hear a beautiful Parisian accent).

You won’t want to miss our last described show of the season, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park with a Touch Tour afterward. What a perfect way to end the season!

August marks the beginning of the end of summer and also the end of VocalEye’s seventh season. Details for next season are coming soon, but here are a few highlights:

The new season begins with the Vancouver Fringe Festival: 100 shows, 700 performances, 11 days. We’re not describing all of them, of course, but 30 shows are designated as Low Vision Friendly and VocalEye will describe one performance as well. Find out what all this means at our Accessible Fringe 101 orientation (details below).

We are delighted to return to the Arts Club for our 8th season! Single tickets are now on sale for all described performances with shows and dates on the Arts Club website. Be sure to mark your calendars for Beauty and the Beast. We’re describing this one twice: Sunday, December 17 at 2 pm with a Touch Tour; and again on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:30 pm (no tour). Season subscriptions are also available with more savings and perks. Call 604-687-1644 for more info. (http://artsclub.com/shows/2017-2018/vocaleye)

We’ve also confirmed another described season at The Belfry in Victoria. They’re offering a season ticket package for described performances for greater savings this year. Call 250-385-6815 for more info. (http://www.belfry.bc.ca)

VocalEye will also return to the Surrey Arts Centre, the Kay Meek Centre, The Gateway in Richmond and Stanley Park for The Ghost Train. (http://www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation/1688.aspx)

Save the date: Saturday, November 4 for VocalEye’s 5th annual TALES FROM THE BLIND SIDE storytelling fundraiser at Moose’s Down Under. (http://www.vocaleye.ca/shows/tales-blind-side-2017/)

I could go on, but summer’s almost over already. Get out there and enjoy!

See you soon!





VANCOUVER PRIDE PARADE described on Sunday August 6, 2017 from Noon until 3 pm, Beach Avenue Accessible Seating near Alexandra Park. Free public event. (http://www.vocaleye.ca/shows/vancouver-pride-parade-2017/)

Headsets and priority seating will be provided free of charge for people with vision loss in the accessibility area from 11 am to 3 pm on Parade Day (Sunday, August 6). Reservations are required. Contact 604-364-5949 or info@vocaleye.ca

Seating and equipment are limited. We recommend arriving early.

Please note: The new accessibility area is located on the water side of Beach Avenue at the foot of Broughton Street. This is across the street and farther down the parade route (to the left) when compared to our location in previous years.

VocalEye is proud to describe the 39th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade for people who are blind and partially sighted. This is VocalEye’s third year describing the Vancouver Pride Parade thanks to a request from Richard Marion, a member of the blind community.

Described by Eileen Barrett and Allan Morgan with live-tweets from VocalEye volunteers.

Your sighted friends are welcome to listen in on Eileen and Allan’s description of this year’s Pride participants. Bring an extra set of ear buds and ask us for a splitter and you’ll be able to share your receiver. Friends can also follow our live tweets on Twitter (https://twitter.com/vocaleye) .

The Beach Avenue Accessibility Area features seating, shade and accessible washroom facilities. Free bottled water will be available, but to reduce waste, we encourage you to bring your own water. VocalEye will provide light snacks and treats. Be sure to dress for the weather as necessary, it can be cooler near the water, and don’t forget your sunscreen! You may want to bring a little cushion for your seat.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, described by Eileen Barrett on Friday, August 11 at 8 pm at Theatre Under the Stars, 610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver. TUTS offers a free companion rate for VocalEye users. Regular ticket prices range from $30 to $49. To purchase tickets, please call 604-734-1917. For best headset reception, seating is recommended in the left section of the audience, rows 10 and higher. Running time is approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. This performance will be followed by a Touch Tour and we’ll also draw the winning raffle tickets. (http://www.vocaleye.ca/shows/the-drowsy-chaperone/)

Arrive early and grab a bite to eat at the Garden Café or a light snack from the snack bar. There is a wide range of hot, cold and alcoholic beverages for sale as well. Bring your own seat cushion for more comfort. A limited number of cushions will be reserved for VocalEye guests on a first come, first served basis (http://www.tuts.ca/garden-cafe-menu)

You’ll be sitting outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather and be prepared for cooler temperatures in the evening.

“There’s nothing snoozy or sleepy about this TUTS production of The Drowsy Chaperone: it’s flat-out, full-on fun. Plus it’s wickedly clever.”
-Jo Ledingham (http://bit.ly/2vvnCkf)

Alone in his modest, one-bedroom apartment, a die-hard musical fan plays his favourite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. As the record spins, the show magically bursts to life, filling his living room with colourful characters, immersing him in the hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her impending nuptials, complete with gangsters, playboys, singing, dancing and drinking.

“There’s much ado these days about a Canadian musical, Come From Away, making it big on Broadway and scooping a Tony Award for direction earlier this month. (https://www.vancouverpresents.com/theatre/come-away-coming-vancouver/)

But what many people forget, or don’t know, is that just over a decade ago, another subversive little Canuck musical pulled off the same magic. Written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar as a wedding present to Martin’s wife, it was first staged off the beaten track in Toronto’s storied Rivoli bar back in 1998. A long, winding, and unlikely path led it to the bright lights of Broadway by 2006, nabbing it five Tony Awards and the chance to go on to England, Australia, and Japan.” -The Georgia Straight (http://bit.ly/2uwEkCC)

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE – PLOT SYNOPSIS (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/de65e4fe4220a1a668fdef7ee/files/4c821ca6-d291-46f7-ac51-756e9586446d/DROWSY_PLOT.doc)

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE – SONG LIST (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/de65e4fe4220a1a668fdef7ee/files/bd3f9ddb-7e0d-4cbb-b89e-2e48008fa6ce/DROWSY_SONG_LIST.doc)

The Vancouver Fringe Festival tagline is “Theatre for Everyone”, an ideal that VocalEye fully supports! (http://www.vancouverfringe.com)

Personally speaking, I am a long-time fan of the Fringe. Full disclosure: I performed in the very first festival (1985) and have been involved with more than a dozen Fringe shows as an actor or director and many, many more as an audience member. Frequent Fringe-ing or Fringe Binge-ing is one of my all-time favourite things to do. With $14 tickets, a free companion rate and 60 minute shows (on average), you can do it, too! Let us show you how…

If you are a VocalEye member with vision loss or a Theatre Buddy who’s new to the Fringe, this orientation session will show you how its done!

When: Sunday, August 27 from Noon until 3 pm.
Meet up location: northeast corner of Broadway and Granville
Session location: Carousel rehearsal space, 1411 Cartwright Street, across from Kid’s Market and the Waterfront Theatre

This free orientation session includes:
* a walking tour from Broadway and Granville to Granville Island (starts at Noon)
* Accessible Fringe 101 session (begins at 12:30)
* Introduction to the Festival
* first-person reports from blind and low vision frequent Fringers, Deb Fong and Tami Grenon
* Low Vision Friendly programming
* tips on how to Fringe: choosing shows, booking tickets and more
* walking tour of Granville Island’s Fringe venues and landmarks
* snacks and refreshments
* free Fringe membership ($5 value)
* the opportunity to connect with a Fringe buddy
* the opportunity to become a Fringe buddy

This year’s Fringe is scheduled from September 7 to 17. There are more than 30 shows designated as Low Vision Friendly, plus one VocalEye described performance of “A Very Unpleasant Evening at the Rockefeller Rink Sometime Late December…ish”, on Saturday, September 16 at 3:50 pm at The Cultch Historic Theatre. This fresh and quirky comedy features some delightful characters, including one who happens to be a legally blind zamboni driver. Find out more at the orientation session!

To register, please contact Donna, buddies@vocaleye.ca
Deadline to register is August 24, 2017

Don’t miss your chance to win one of three great prizes!
* First Prize: Plextalk Linio Pocket daisy/mp3 player from Canadian Assistive Technologies, value $369
* Second Prize: One-year subscription to Audible.com with AfterShokz bone-conducting headphones, value $210
* Third Prize: Save-On gift card, value $100

Ticket Price: $5

With three easy ways to purchase:
1. at the equipment table at one of VocalEye’s events
2. from a friendly VocalEye board member
3. or from Steph, 604-364-5949.

Draw Date: Friday, August 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Draw Location: Theatre Under the Stars, 610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2

Presence not required at time of draw. Winners consent to the release of their name by VocalEye, 303-355 E 15th Ave, Vancouver V5T 2R2 | 604-364-5949

Number of tickets for sale = 300 | BC Gaming Event License # 95264

Limit one prize per winner | BC residents only

All proceeds go toward VocalEye’s description programs.


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. buddies@vocaleye.ca

** 8) 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 (http://www.vocaleye.ca/support-us/sponsors/) .

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.

DONATE HERE (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=W6ZXMTEJ9MSGC)
* VocalEye’s complete season of described performances can be found on our website (http://vocaleye.ca/shows/) .
* 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!



GTT Calgary Summary Notes, iDevice Radio Apps, February 27, 2017

GTT Calgary

Summary Notes
Feb 27, 2017

We had 9 people in attendance.
Side notes:

There was mention of something called vocal eyes. According to what information we have, the service is available in the U.S. and Canada, and if you let them know you need sighted assistance at an event such as a movie, sports event, ETC. they will provide it.

*Note: Ted, VocalEye is located in Vancouver and more can be found here:

RADIO aps:

 The first ap covered is Tune-in radio. This ap has been a favorite for years. You can browse local stations, search stations for content, and find content from around the world. There is both a free and a paid version of this ap available.
 The next ap covered is Sero. This is the ap that use to be iBlink radio. Blain gave a brief demonstration of the Sero ap.
 Ventage radio is next. This is one of my favorites. CHERRYL briefly showed how the ap workthe. This ap will let you listen to or download old time radio shows.
 The next one covered is OOTUNES radio. This also features an alarm clock, sleep timer, recording functions, including recording scheduling. This is the same service that brings you your radio service on your victor streme. Cherryl briefly showed the layout and some of the features of the ap.
 The last ap covered today was iHeart radio. This ap is a resource for George Naurie who we are fans of. This ap had lots of unlabled buttons but could be delt with if you are willing to work with it, you can find results. You can also search for stations or content by name.
 We also informed people about VIA which is an iphone ap that lists aps for blind and low vision people. This ap lists hundreds of aps to choose from for their iPhones.

Next Meeting Topics:
for the next meeting: Downloading, copying and pasting on the iPhone.
The question of a new day for GTT:
New time and day March 22 at 1:00 P.M. until 3:00 P.M.

Thank you all for your attention
Ted Phillips
GTT Coordinator
CCB Calgary Club