Gravity Access Services
Gravity Access Services offer a range of services to make live performance more accessible to audience members with diverse sensory modalities and physicalities. These include live and recorded Audio Description services, pre-show Haptic Access Tours, ASL referral services, Site Visits, Media Assessments and General Accessibility consulting to assess and advise artists, producers, venues and events on best practices for making their presentations as accessible as possible.
Live Audio Description
Audio Description provides access to the visual elements – action, costumes, settings, gestures, facial expressions, objects and other visually communicative elements – of theater, dance or live art performances, television/film screenings, museum exhibitions, academic or industry presentations, even sporting events. Almost any event that has a meaningful visual component can be made more accessible thru Audio Description. Audio Description (AD) is usually a live audio track spoken by one of Gravity’s Professional Audio Describers to patrons with visual impairments through a wireless headset system, but the service may also be pre-recorded if appropriate.
Gravity’s Audio Description Team is comprised of performers, themselves professional dancers and actors trained by Gravity Artistic Director Jess Curtis to provide clear and engaging descriptions of the meaningful visual details of a performance that might otherwise be inaccessible to audience members with visual impairments.
For live productions Gravity’s service includes the use of our wireless headset system and a muffled microphone setup suitable for use in small venues and rooms without sound separated tech facilities.
For productions with a longer presentation life or videos, Gravity can also produce recorded audio description tracks in collaboration with the artists involved.
Haptic Access Tours
In tandem with the audio description Gravity helps to construct and present a live pre-show tour that allows patrons to haptically (thru touch, their own movement, hearing and kinesthetic senses) experience the space, performers, costumes and objects in addition to key movement elements in the performance. Usually lasting 20 to 30 minutes and ending 30 minutes before house opening, these tours lay a multi-sensory foundation to support the audio description service and are intended to focus on access for patrons with visual impairments The Haptic Acces Tour is not generally offered to curious sighted patrons who are not accompanying a visually impaired person, although on occasion we offer, by pre-arrangement, an example Tour that is open to the greater public in order to share the practice with other artists or theater managers or audience members, but this is only by pre-arrangement
GENERAL EXTRA-VISUAL ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES
As part of Gravity’s services, our associate, blind activist, and visual access consultant, Tiffany Taylor, will assess the PR/Marketing and other materials connected to your event (such as box office website, evening program formats, etc.) and offer accessible solutions to make sure all audience members have access to all the services and information surrounding your event.
Gravity is excited to offer these services to help you make your events more accessible to diverse audiences. We are striving to provide an affordable, mobile service at a reasonable cost so that smaller, independent venues, producers, and artists are able to provide access to more diverse communities. We hope to make live contemporary performance more accessible to people across a range of sensory modalities and physicalities and to advance Bay Area practices of access accommodation in the performing arts.
D/deaf Accessibility Consultations and Referrals
Gravity associate and Deaf Access Consultant Zahna Simon, can advise on best practices for ASL interpretation for performance and refer you to independent ASL interpreters that you may engage directly for your event.
Gravity can also assess and advise on Deaf Access in your Front of House Operations; the PR/Marketing and other materials connected to your event (such as box office practices, TTY accessibility etc.) and offer accessible solutions—such as ASL signed video announcements and references to lists of D/deaf social media groups to make sure all audience members have access to information surrounding your event.
Access for Patrons with Mobility Impairments
There is a vast difference between being ADA compliant and actually making patrons with disabilities feel welcome in your venue. Gravity Access associates offer site visits, PR/Marketing assessments and staff and volunteer trainings to advise on ways that your space and your staff can generously welcome physically diverse audiences to your events. We address issues ranging from accessible seating arrangements and the pathways that lead to them to respectful language and hosting practices.
PR and Marketing Assistance
Gravity can assist and advise your PR and Marketing staff on accessible practices and also provide your organization with lists of community organizations for your outreach efforts. However, simply hiring us and offering Audio Description for the first time does not guarantee that blind and visually impaired audiences will immediately begin attending your events.
Committing to regular accessible programming and engaging in some specific outreach to sensorially diverse communities is essential to developing a relationship to patrons with diverse sensory modalities and physicalities. Gravity associates are available to consult and advise to help you connect with communities and service organizations that may be interested in collaborating to spread the word that you are offering accessible performance.