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The Audio Description Project

Performing Arts With Audio Description

ReceiverPatron Getting ReceiverToday many theatrical companies engage the services of trained audio describers to enhance the theatre experience for people who are blind or have low vision.  The describer occasionally speaks "between the lines" to describe entrances, exits, and actions to people who cannot see them.  Often, before the show and during intermission, a describer "sets up" for the performance by detailing the stage layout, props, characters, and costumes.  There is never any charge to the theatre patron for the use of audio description, although the theatre may pay a fee for the service.

The typical scenario for using description would be to locate a table in the theatre lobby where description equipment is being handed out.  You will usually be given a small hand-held receiver about the size of a pack of cigarettes.  It has an on/off switch, a volume control, and a jack for a headset, which you will also be given.  Headsets vary in style, and you may even prefer to bring your own.  Put the headset on and turn on the receiver as soon as you get seated, as you may find someone is describing the stage or characters for you already.

If you are lucky, the theatre will offer touch tours. View an example of Virginia Repertory's Touch Tour.

See Also
I love theatre and I'm blind. Here's how that works.
Why Go to See Live Theatre If You Are Blind?
Describing Diversity in Theatre
Technology for Audio Description

If you don't find description offered for a favorite theatre or for a specific production that you would like described, call and ask for it!  The theatre will be dependent on finding local audio describers -- not always an easy task -- but there is no harm in asking.  Advocate for your own needs!

The Law on Description

Under the ADA, offering an accommodation is always on a case by case basis, and the decision is based on what is "readily achievable."  That will vary from one venue to another, of course, according to administrative and financial resources.  A large theatre organization will be a much more likely candidate for offering description than a small one, for example; and you must also take into account whether or not audio describers are available in the area.

Each venue should develop a policy in accordance to what is readily achievable for them; then they should market their policy so that the public knows what to expect and how to request the service.

Here are some of the theatres around the country that offer description.  The amount of detail varies depending upon how much information was provided to the webmaster.  If you know of more or have corrections, please advise the webmaster via the link at the bottom of the page.  UPDATED April 5, 2024 – THANK YOU, CONTRIBUTORS!

Jump to State:  AZ  CA  CO  CT  DC  FL  GA  HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  MA  MD  MI  MN  MO  NE  NJ  NY  NC  ND  NV  OH  OR  PA  TN  TX  UT  VA  VT  WA  WI

See also Museums/Tours

Disclaimer:  Theatres listed here have been reported as offering audio description at some performances.  CALL the theatre to request or verify availability of description!





District of Columbia

For additional information (including a schedule) about audio described performances in the DC area, visit The Washington Ear and/or DC Arts & Access Network Calendar.


The following theatres are part of the Central Florida Audio Description Initiative (CFADI) and have committed to at least one performance with AD for each show in their season.

The following theatres have worked with CFADI on a request basis.

Orlando Fringe offers AD services: Their main theater festival in May each year, the FestN4 curated 4-day festival in January of each year, and at their year round venue Fringe ArtSpace.

The following theatres have also offered AD in the past.










Massachusetts(Boston and Vicinity plus Worcester)

PointerView the Schedule of Audio Described Performances in the Greater Boston Area from Perkins



The following theatres and arts organizations in Minnesota (with a couple across the border into North Dakota), offer audio description either proactively or for certain productions or upon request by patrons.

Performance Listings:

Theatre Listings:


Nebraska (Omaha and Lincoln)

Audio Description in Omaha and Lincoln is provided by Outlook Nebraska (check for details) at the venues listed below.


New Jersey

New York (NYC, unless otherwise mentioned)



North Carolina



Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill (Triangle)

PointerSee Arts Access for the current schedule (or call 919-833-9919).  You can View a Public Service Announcement about audio description, featuring Arts Access.  Some of the following venues offer AD only on request, so check early.

Arts Access has served the following Triangle-area theatre companies in the past.  Please ask them about audio description!

... And they have served the following theatres outside the Triangle.

North Dakota

Ohio Mar '24






Dallas/Fort Worth


Described performances include operas, ballets, musicals, and plays.  Houston Grand Opera was the Houston pioneer in audio description, offering service on 48 hours' notice for all performances since 1987.

San Antonio




Washington (State)