“Art, Science and Sport” Charity Foundation launches grants for providing visual descriptive commentary in theatres

Audio description: a coloured photo. A dark-haired young woman wearing a yellow blouse is sitting in a glass booth. This is Vera Fevralskikh, visual description commentator. She has an oval face with soft features, bright red lipstick and a gentle smile on her lips. Massive headphones are crowning her head. There are a turned-on table lamp and a microphone in front of her. The upper lights in the room are turned off.

“Art, Science and Sport” Charity Foundation of Alisher Usmanov within the framework of the “Special View” program supporting people with visual impairments starts accepting submissions for grants competitions meant to provide visual descriptive commentary in theatres. One can file a submission starting on November 16, 2020.

Moreover, on November 16 a webinar on grants competitions of the Foundation will be broadcast on YouTube. Xenia Dmitriyeva, the Chief of program the “Special View” of “Art, Science and Sport” Charity Foundation, and Valeria Satler, the program coordinator, will be the speakers.

“Theatres have certain barriers, namely they have no funds alloted to visual descriptive commentary, and what is more, there is no such profession as visual description commentator in the description of occupations, so that even if a theatre wants to employ such a specialist it won’t be able to do so. Our grant activity is aimed at supporting theatres in these aspects and at solid infrastructure development that in the future will allow to introduce such service in theatres all over the country”, says Xenia Dmitriyeva.

Before a theatre performance with visual description commentary, each visually impaired viewer entering the auditorium is provided with a receiver and headphones to be informed on the visual component of the performance. Visual description commentary(a short description of an object, space or event) which a visually challenged person is hearing is created in advance by a specialist and is being voiced directly during the performance.

The winners of the contest will receive:

  • Cash grants to provide visual description commentary in regional theatres that collaborated with the Fund previously (Continuation nomination)
  • Cash grants to provide visual description commentary in regional theatres from scratch (Start nomination)
  • Cash grants to provide visual description commentary in Moscow theatres (Capital City nomination)
  • Equipment for visual description commentary to 35 theatres.

Submissions for participation may be filed by theatres and cities with at least one resident visual description specialist. It is important to attach to the application letters of support from the Ministry of Culture of the region (except Moscow) and representative offices of the All Russia Association of the Blind.

Each contestant shall also provide a ten-minute live video tour around their premises using OK Live application. Theatre representatives shall point out the reasons why their theatre should be given the grant to provide their performances with visual description commentary. Hashtags #искусствонаукаиспорт, #особыйвзгляд2021 and #мывтеатре must be put in the title of the live video. All the videotours for the contest will be saved, published at the “Special View” website and made available for viewing to all website visitors.

The total prize fund of grants competitions amounts to 14,050,000 RUB. Applications may be submitted till January 15, 2021. The winners will be announced before February 1, prize sums will be delivered before March 1.