Touch Tours – Getting hands on with theatre

A group of various ages people looking at different items on the table during the touch tourFor blind and partially sighted people, joining a touch tour prior to an audio described performance can create a much more meaningful and enriching theatre experience. Getting up close to the stage and props provides context and produces those “lightbulb moments” of understanding when watching 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 theatergoers 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.  


For any theatre fans missing live theatre during lockdown and looking for a stagey evening, don’t forget to book your free tickets to our exciting virtual event, Sight loss in the spotlight: Taking Centre Stage, with stars of stage and screen: Dame Judi Dench, Hayley Mills, and Stephen Fry. Book your free ticket now!