Touch Tours – Getting hands on with theatre – Vision Foundation

Touch Tours – Getting hands on with theatre

A group of various ages people looking at different items on the table during the touch tourAttending a touch tour before an Audio-Described performance can create a much more meaningful and enriching theatre experience for visually impaired audiences. Find out more about what happens before the show…


What is a touch tour? 

A touch tour is usually held before an Audio-Described performance of a theatre production to provide context about the show and to allow blind and partially sighted members of the audience to familiarise themselves with the design of the space, costumes and props ahead of the show itself.   


What happens during a touch tour?  

Audience members get the chance to walk on the stage before the theatre opens and can touch and feel props, costumes and physical pieces of the set. You also have the chance to explore the story, pairing it with the descriptive information received before the show. 

Audio-Describers, the venue team, stage management, wardrobe staff and the cast may be present to answer any questions and share descriptions or interpretations of the space. 


Why is access to touch tours important? 

Having this experience ahead of a live theatre performance gives blind and partially sighted theatregoers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the show content and space and allows Audio-Describers to share insights which will help them to deliver the best descriptions during the show.  


Can I find out more about what happens in a touch tour? 

To learn more about how Audio-Described performances and touch tours work, check out “What is an Audio Described Performance?” on the National Theatre’s YouTube page.


How can I book a ticket to a show with a touch tour? 

Check out upcoming Audio-Described performances and touch tour dates with VocalEyes.  


Our projects

Through our project funding, we enable work which aims to empower, inform and include the visually impaired community. Some of our recent theatre projects include…


The Paradis Files – Graeae Theatre Company

The Paradis Files is a brand new chamber opera delving into the life of pianist, composer and touring musician Maria-Theresia von Paradis aka The Blind Enchantress. We are proud to have funded a proportion of the costs needed to bring this production to live and digital audiences. From audio description consultancy to funding the costs of lead singer Bethan Langford (who is partially sighted) performing in the title role and the creation of the model box and textual costume book which will enable blind and partially sighted audiences to physically explore the production, braille programmes and play texts.

Read Kerry’s blog about her experience watching the show here >


Polka Theatre

With support from the Vision Fund, Polka Theatre in Wimbledon have incorporated regular touch tours and audio described performances into their calendar. Regular Contributor, Charmaine wrote a review of her experience visiting a show at Polka with her family, you can read it here >



Extant provides a programme of shows with a cast of visually impaired actors and performers, opening up this world of talent and creativity to the rest of society. We are proud to have funded No Dramas, a monthly drama club for visually impaired adults over the age of 18. The workshops provide employment opportunities for visually impaired arts professionals, as well as a fun way to network, socialise and exchange information and life skills to further boost employment prospects.