What does an Audio Describer do?

An Audio Describer verbally describes what happens on stage for the blind or visually impaired, so that they can enjoy live performances or events. They produce a separate audio description script for the show and they recite them in real time at a live event, using specialised equipment.

What are the main responsibilities of an Audio Describer?

  • Study stage directions and storylines from scripts 
  • Attend shows before they describe and during
  • Record different types of audiovisual products 
  • Create audio scripts 
  • Respond to moments live that were not in the script

What qualifications do I need to be an Audio Describer?

You will need to complete formal training to be an Audio Describer which may or may not result in a formal qualification. However a number of other qualifications will definitely assist in your ability to complete the duties asked of this role. For example, English and Voice work for pronunciation. An understanding of theatre, set and costumes can also be beneficial when describing. 

What skills do I need to be an Audio Describer?

  • Social skills, especially for individual describing 
  • Knowledge of types of media and audio equipment 
  • Communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Pronunciation techniques - must be able to pronounce words correctly for them to be understood
  • Punctuality - if you’re describing a theatre show you must be on time
  • Descriptive
  • Able to describe moments not planned for

What does a career as an Audio Describer look like?

You must be able to be a good communicator. For example, if you’re describing a production such as Macbeth, you must be able to explain in detail what the Actors who play the witches are wearing, the facial expressions they are using and the way they move around the space. With the appropriate training you will be able to ensure you are able to provide an audience with enough description to bring the show visually to life.  

How much does an Audio Describer earn? 

Salaries can vary and are often paid per performance as a freelance rate, or through an agency. It depends on how many shows there are, whether the show requires travel (on tour) and the size of the cast.

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


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