Auckland Arts Festival launches an outstanding accessible programme for March 2018, including a $20 ticket price for accessible shows.

The Auckland Arts Festival includes a selection of shows chosen by members of the blind or low vision community, industry stakeholders, theatre goes and audio describers.

The colourful line-up for the festival’s accessible programme includes two international theatre shows, a world-acclaimed dance show, a visual art exhibition and a music performance.

Helen Winskill, programme administrator at Auckland Arts Festival, said: “We are very serious about acknowledging and engaging with unique audience requirements, especially connected with accessibility.”

Audio description provides commentary and narration to guide the listener through the presentation. Marama Lloydd, creative learning and community engagement manager, explains audio description of dance is relatively new in New Zealand. It was done for blind and low vision audiences for the first time at the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet earlier in the year.

Attendees of the accessible programme can take part in a ‘touch tour’ on stage, and be introduced to the main characters. Descriptive notes are available for shows with touch tours (that are not audio described) in accessible formats, that give a description of the visual aspects of the show.

Audio described performances with Touch Tours:

  • Akram Khan’s Giselle (UK) – contemporary ballet.
  • George Orwell’s 1984 (UK/AU) – theatre show.

Touch Tours with written notes of audio description:

  • Jack Charles V The Crown (AU) – one man theatre show with backing band.
  • From Scratch (NZ) – visual arts exhibition & music performance.


Tickets for people who are blind or have low vision are offered at a discounted rate of up to 80% at $20 each for the individual and one companion.

The organisers and the Blind Foundation can also help people plan their visit, arrange volunteer companions and transport options.

To request a booking form, email Book early as some events have limited capacity. Visit the Auckland Festival accessibility website for more information and to find booking forms, or phone 09 374 0310.

Arts Access Aotearoa has also set up networks in Wellington, Otago, Auckland, Taranaki and Christchurch to encourage arts organisations to improve their access to disabled audiences.