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Arena Birmingham provides live audio description

by Stuart Wood

Arena Birmingham offered audio description for the first time at Marvel Universe LIVE!

The venue accommodated a request from a customer whose sons are visually impaired. Arena Birmingham partnered with VocalEyes, a company which provides audio description services.

The describers, who saw an earlier performance of the show and prepared a script, were able to offer the real-time description via headsets, making the show more accessible to those with all levels of visual impairment.

The describer’s audio is broadcast using a digital radio system, ensuring a good quality reception with a range of between 50-100 metres.

Claire Eccles, mother of the boys, said: “It meant so much to my family that we were able to enjoy Marvel Universe LIVE! with audio description. My sons are both severely visually impaired and love coming to live events, but it’s often hard for them to work out what’s going on. I try my best to explain but it’s difficult.

“The smiles when they put the headsets on said it all. They can’t stop talking about the fantastic time they had – it made such a difference to their experience. I can only hope more local venues will follow suit.”

Emma Ball, operations manager at Arena Birmingham, said: “Here at Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena, we put a relentless focus on ensuring our world-class entertainment is as accessible as possible for our broad and varied audiences. Over the past year we’ve worked hard to introduce British Sign Language Interpreters to some of our shows, and Audio Description was the next logical step.

“Partnering with VocalEyes has allowed us to do something really exciting – use innovative technology to create a better experience for our visually-impaired customers. We hope this will be the start of many more assisted performances in our Arenas.”

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