February 1, 2012


Fortune Theatre in Dunedin is opening its doors to blind and vision-impaired audiences by providing six audio-described performances of its plays in 2012, supported by a one-off $3000 grant from Creative New Zealand.

Local actor Anna Henare and her trust Experience Access has teamed up with Fortune Theatre to present the audio-described performances, starting with The Motor Camp, a comedy by Dave Armstrong opening on 18 February.

Anna will also be evaluating the impact of performances and developing a template for best practice in audio-described performances that can be used and adapted by other art organisations.

The project is part of a year-long plan to make the theatre accessible to all members of the community. It includes a closed-caption performance for Deaf and hearing-impaired patrons.

Also inDunedin, Studio2 has received a grant of $1850 to display artwork by its disabled artists to professional standards in its exhibition space onGeorge Street. This includes the costs of framing the work.

Organisations and venues inChristchurch,WellingtonandAucklandwill also become more accessible this year, thanks to the Creative New Zealand grants. Projects range from disability awareness staff training and sign language interpretations to music workshops and concerts for disabled children and young adults, and improved physical access.

Totalling $30,000, the eleven grants are being administered by Arts Access Aotearoa through its Arts For All Programme, a partnership programme with Creative New Zealand. The aim of this programme is to work with representatives from the disability sector to support arts organisations, venues and producers to improve their access.

Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand said the one-off grants signal the organisation’s commitment to supporting improved access to arts events for all New Zealanders. They complement the publication Arts for All: opening doors to disabled people and the annual Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts for All Award.

“It’s great to see the range of projects and the organisations’ enthusiasm to build new audiences by making performances, facilities, and information more accessible to disabled people,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the long-term impact of this investment and of Arts Access Aotearoa’s Arts for All Programme.”

Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa said the one-off grants build on the work being done through the Arts For All Programme. They have also prompted valuable discussions with the organisations.

“I am very pleased to see the level of commitment and creative ideas coming from the arts community to improve access for everyone wanting to engage in the arts,” he said.

The eleven grant recipients will also contribute their own funding to the projects.

The following is a full list of the grants:

  • $3000 to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki to increase access to its programmes, provide disability awareness training for staff, and provide a series of signed talks about works in its collection in 2012
  • $3000 to the Auckland Theatre Company to install ramps in its premises and make its website more accessible to people with a visual impairment
  • $3000 to Capital E National Theatre for Children to provide signed performances of three different works in its 2012 programme
  • $3000 to Chamber MusicNew Zealandto present a workshop and concert in theWellingtonTown Hallfor disabled children and young adults so they can experience live music up close, and interact with musicians and their instruments
  • $3000 to Fortune Theatre,Dunedinto establish best practice methodologies for audio-described performances and present six audio-described performances in 2012
  • $3000 to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to increase the number of its performances to students in special needs schools inAuckland
  • $1150 to Pablos Art Studios,Wellingtonto provide staff training for its tutors, enhancing their engagement with those studio’s artists who have visual, hearing or communication impairments
  • $3000 to Q Theatre, Auckland to develop an accessibility policy and action plan, promote its access to a wide audience, and provide disability awareness training for staff, board and management
  • $3000 to Silo Theatre, Aucklandto provide signed performances of Tribes by Nina Raine, an award-winning work about the politics of communication for hearing, hearing impaired and Deaf people
  • $1850 to Studio2,Dunedinto display artwork by disabled artists to professional standards in its exhibition space
  • $3000 to the Theatre Royal Charitable Trust,Christchurchto contribute to the installation of an accessible lift, catering for disabled patrons, to the upper levels of the Isaac Theatre Royal.
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