Here Is The Toolkit
*Throughout the toolkit we will use BLV in place of Blind and Low-Vision for the sake of brevity and consistency.
Building & Maintaining Audience Relationships
The work of engaging and retaining BLV audiences may not be appropriate for all shows and situations. However, working with BLV artists and community members to find meaningful ways to create artwork that appeals to BLV people can create new community relationships that center and support the BLV experience. It is important to remember that exploring and integrating lived experience into artistic practice takes resources. Integrating fees and reasonable livable wages into consultations and any other work that BLV community members are doing for your show or company is necessary for ethical accessible performance. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind posits that 75% of blind individuals in Canada are unemployed. As a result, current ticketing structures may pose barriers for BLV audiences as they may not have the capital to attend the theatre. Consider how Pay What You Can or Pay It Forward models can help in reaching your target audiences while maintaining individual dignity and respect.
Consider that theatre and performance culture in Canada is not limited to performance onstage. Ensuring that a performance can be understood by BLV patrons is necessary, but only a partial step toward realizing an accessible theatre experience. Consider some of the other ways that patrons love to engage with their favourite companies, including post-show talkbacks, Q&As, lobby art installations, and workshops. These activities help foster a community atmosphere to retain audiences. It is imperative that many of these activities be planned from the outset to intentionally engage with BLV patrons. Events that can interest multiple senses simultaneously will ensure that vision access does not become an afterthought. Advertising campaigns must not rely solely on visual indicators. Accessibility considerations should be as varied as the companies presenting them and implemented every step of the way. Lasting relationships are formed only when we make continuous efforts to engage with and incorporate BLV accessibility.