We spoke with Rich Blacksell, production manager for The Mousetrap, to talk with him about a new system to allow audio description at every performance of the longest running show in the world.
When our existing assistive listening devices came to the end of their working life, the opportunity presented to see how we could enrich and expand our accessibility experience.
Having trialled a system on a recent tour to allow us to have audio description at every performance, we wanted to try to introduce a similar set-up for The Mousetrap in the West End.
While it was apparent that there would be significant technical challenges, such as installing the correct infrastructure in a theatre built in 1916 and dramatically increasing the number of sound cues, everybody was determined to succeed.
Given that the audio description (AD) would have to be recorded, we worked closely with colleagues at VocalEyes, to develop a script that lost as little detail as possible, while being robust enough to allow it to be carried through cast changes.
Thankfully, The Mousetrap is a very precise production – so we’re able to ensure each clue and every red herring land as intended!
We don’t know that we’re the only production doing this in the West End, but we are certainly not aware of others. It’s been a challenging process, but it’s a worthwhile step and we’re keen to find the next opportunity to allow the show, through training and infrastructure, to be as accessible as possible.