The conventional approach to audio description (AD) uses third-person narrative, factual delivery style, post-planning, and third-party delivery, making it incompatible with inclusive design principles and equitable access to sensory stimuli.This paper discusses Clay & Paper Theatre’s alternative AD approach, involving actors, script writers, musicians and directors. With no previous exposure to inclusive design, the creative team developed the design process: script modification, characters and music integration, and sensory tour presentation. Innovative methodology taught actors and directors to think about accessibility from the start of their creative processes.Actors found the inclusive design process useful in developing a better understanding of character roles. Audience members enjoyed the play through the role of music and its link to the narrative and characterization. Clay & Paper Theatre’s alternative AD approach exemplifies social innovation in inclusive theatre design for blind and low vision (B/LV) audiences, with an emphasis on process and service outcomes.
Funding for this project was generously provided by SSHRC CURA, CulturAll and Canadian Heritage, and NSERC # 184220-05. We also thank all of the Clay & Paper staff and contractual staff for their support and willingness to try something new. We are grateful to all of the students and staff at the Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University who made this project possible. Thanks to Lisa Copeland for editing assistance and JP Udo for his previous research in this field of studies. Finally, we thank all of the B/LV and sighted individuals that participated in this research.