• Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye
  • Anne Hornsby | Mind's Eye

Mind's Eye News 2014

NOVEMBER NEWS about Audio Description

November sees the launch of DadaFest on 7 November, with a whole host of shows and exhibitions being described in Liverpool and elsewhere throughout November and into December. Highlights include Young DadaFest over 29 and 30 November; the tour of The Ugly Girl with Liz Carr and Julie McNamara from 20 November with dates in Preston, Salford, Wolverhampton and Liverpool; the latest Lawrence Clark comedy show, on 5 December and a fascinating exhibition and staged Playreading about Edward Rustoh, blind Liverpool Radical and Abolitionist, To keep up to date check the Mind’s Eye Twitter feed @MindsEyeArts or the Mind's Eye Facebook page. All notices on Twitter and Facebook automatically appear on the Mind’s Eye news page on the website too.

Audio description for touring shows this month includes THE PICTURE OF DOREEN GRAY, by Lip Service at The Stephen Joseph Theatre on 8 November; BARNUM at the Manchester Palace Theatre on 11 November and at Bradford Alhambra Theatre on 27 November; The National Theatre’s ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS at the Theatre Royal Norwich on 29 November, followed by THE FULL MONTY also in Norwich on 6 December.

Brian Conely as Barnum The Full Monty

The first of the Christmas shows to be described are: Dick Whittington at The Regent Theatre Stoke on 3 December and Alice in Wonderland at the Octagon on 5 December.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

October News

This month sees the first audio description of the new play from award-winning comedy duo - Lip Service - The Picture of Doreen Gray.

Doreen Gray has it all, a drive time radio show, a high ratings lifestyle programme on Even More 4, but hitting 50, Doreen finds her face no longer fits the bill. At a school reunion she stumbles across a youthful self portrait and makes a dark and dreadful pact with the picture. Featuring community actors as Doreen's school mates live on stage and on film.

Doreen Gray will be audio described this month at Oldham Coliseum on October 21st, with a second audio description at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on November 8th. Further dates across the country to be announced for 2015.

The theme of the First World War is revisited in the Octagon Theatre's production of Early One Morning by Bolton playwright Les Smith. This moving play tells the true story of of 26-year-old soldier James Smith from Bolton.

Early One Morning

Flanders, August 21st 1917. British forces advancing towards Passchendaele are struggling through driving rain and mud. The fighting is fierce and bloody. Each day thousands are killed, wounded or lost to oblivion. Two miles behind the front line a Field General Court Martial begins. Private James Smith of the King’s Liverpool Regiment is charged with desertion.

This is the moving and compelling story of a Bolton soldier, who for three years has been fighting in some of the fiercest battles of the First World War. He has been wounded, received two Good Conduct Medals, and been promoted. He is now on trial for his life.

Audio description is on October 16th.

Another war related drama is at The Dukes in Lancaster, audio described on October 22nd.

Acclaimed theatre makers, imitating the dog, bring their unique theatrical vision to Ernest Hemingway’s seminal First World War novel and the much loved film – A Farewell to Arms. Based on the author’s real-life experience in 1918, A Farewell to Arms tells the story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italian army and his tragic relationship with British nurse Catherine Barkley.

The Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse present two productions this month Bright Phoenix ,on October 10th, , and Sean O Casey's compelling drama Juno and The Paycock, starring Niamh Cusack, on October 15th.

Bright Phoenix at the Everyman, is a wild play about the carnival of the city at night and a gang of rebel kids who still don't quite fit in as grown-ups. Featuring live music, Jeff Young's epic and poetic play commissioned especially for the new Everyman, reveals the magic of forgotten places and dreaming beneath the stars.

Juno and the Paycock at The Playhouse is a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic and reviews there have been excellent.

Star Ratings

The world’s in the grip of change for Juno and her peacock of a husband – a daughter flirting with marriage and politics, a civil war outside the door, a son wounded and hiding from the conflict. Could the reading of a will bring stability and status to the Boyle household?

Hilarity and tragedy rub shoulders in Sean O’Casey’s classic Irish drama set in Dublin 1922, featuring his trademark mix of comic double acts, political upheavals, domestic longings, and characters who are never far away from an opulent word or song.

Touring productions being described this month include the fabulous, Wicked at the Liverpool Empire, where we are guaranteed a wonderful touch tour; the ever-popular Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at Manchester's Opera House; the super sexy Dirty Dancing and the slick and stylish Top Hat both at Wolverhampton Grand, and The Full Monty, about which I've had lots of enquiries! The show is being described at Liverpool Empire on October 23rd with further audio descriptions planned in due course for Norwich Theatre Royal and Bradford Alhambra.

The Full Monty

Tickets are sold out for both Shakespearian adventures being presented this month in Manchester - Romeo and Juliet - being performed by the Home company at the Victoria Baths, and Hamlet - starring Maxine Peake - at the Royal Exchange.

And if you're brave enough, the final production of the Theatre by the Lake's Summer Season, is the day after Hallowe'en- November 1 - for Dracula at 8pm.


In the Visual arts this month, the Henshaw's group are visiting the People's History Museum, for A Land Fit for Heroes – War and the Working Class.

The exhibition One Man, One Vision - Thomas Henshaw - is now on at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition celebrates 175 years of Henshaw's Society for Blind People and has an audio description, plus audio tour, tactile guide and handling objects.

Just announced are audio description dates at Leeds Grand Theatre for Barnum 25 April 2.30

King’s Speech 30 May 2.30 The Producers 13 June 2.30 JCSuperstar 11 July 2.30


Treats for August and September 2014

A big green ogre arrives in Leeds this month! Audio description of Shrek is at Leeds Grand Theatre on the 9th August for the matinee performance at 2.30pm. Check with Mind’s Eye for touch tour time beforehand. The show will also be described at Nottingham Theatre Royal on 26 September.


Also on the 9th August, at 3.30pm, the hugely successful Around The World in 80 Days will be audio described at the Royal Exchange. Adapted by Laura Eason from the novel by Jules Verne the “uniformly terrific” (The Guardian) cast includes Matthew Rixon and Denniis Herdman.

Other touring productions this month include the National Theatre’s hilarious One Man Two Guvnors, described by The Daily Mail as “The Funniest Show on the Planet”. The audio description is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke on the 27th August, at the 2.30pm performance and the following week, on the 3rd of September at the Liverpool Empire for the evening show.

One Man Two Guvnors

In September audio described touring productions include: Top Hat at Milton Keynes Theatre, West Side Story at Norwich Theatre Royal, Singin in the Rain in Bradford, and Jersey Boys at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

Jersey boys

Once the new seasons are underway, North West productions include the Ben Travers’ farce Rookery Nook and a perennial Shakespeare favourite, The Comedy of Errors at Theatre by the Lake: Willy Russell’s Our Day Out at Oldham Coliseum: and the first of two plays which commemorate the centenary of World War One – the moving and poignant Journey’s End at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton.

William Trost Richards - After a Gale

If you fancy a trip to an Art Gallery, come along to The Harris in Preston for an interesting mixed media exhibition, inspired by the sea. Making Waves will be audio described on August 26th at 2pm. Admission free and all welcome!.



Audio description highlights over the Summer

On June 22 the English National Ballet and Derek Deane’s breath-taking production of Romeo and Juliet will be audio described at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets are available online at royalalberthall.com or by ringing 020 7838 3109. Remember to mention that you need a headset and would like to attend the touch tour.

For something quite different, you can attend an audio description of the irreverent, raunchy, ear-blasting musical - Rock of Ages. Audio descriptions are at Bradford Alhambra on June 25, and at the Regent Theatre, Stoke, on 19 July. Both are matinee performances – dressing up in 80s gear is optional! Singing along to the rock anthems and getting on your feet for the final number is not! Songs include: Living in Paradise, I Wanna Rock, Here I Am, Again on my Own, We Built This City, and many more..

The spectacular show Wicked flies into Leeds this summer and is audio described on 28 July at the matinee performance. Early booking recommended.

Meanwhile, a few weeks later, also at Leeds Grand, is the theatre show of the great children’s Disney film, Shrek. The big green creature is being described on 9 August, book early, especially if you are coming to the touch tour.

Other fabulous shows on tour, all described by Mind’s Eye are: The Lion King at Liverpool Empire, Cats, at Venue Cymru, West Side Story at Leeds Grand and Milton Keynes Theatre, Brassed Off at the Octagon Theatre (sold out so phone for returns), and the new tour of One Man Two Guv’nors. This fast-paced and very funny show is being described at Bradford Alhambra, The Regent, Stoke and Liverpool Empire.

Other North West performances include the good old weepie Love Story which ends the season at the Octagon Theatre; Close The Coal House Door, with a true Northern flavour at the Coliseum Theatre, Oldham, and also sprinkled with Northern dust, Billy Liar, at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

The Octagon Theatre new season is now on sale with shows announced up until next summer. These include Journey’s End, Hindle Wakes, Private Lives and Noises Off. Full details and dates of audio described performances available from 01204 520661.


Spring-time Shows and Exhibitions

Touring Shows

April gets off to a fantastic start with audio description of The Lion King at Bradford Alhambra on 3 at 7.30pm. This truly spectacular show telling the story of Simba the Lion Cub and his friends, the lovable Pumbaa and Timon makes for a fantastic experience for all the family. Make sure you book a place on the touch tour, when you will have an opportunity to explore some of the amazing masks and costumes! If you can’t catch the show at Bradford, on April 3, the next AD is on June 12 at Liverpool Empire.

Sprintime Show 2014

Other touring shows over April and May include the heart-warming classic, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, starring Sam Attwater and Helena Blackman, (Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton April 5, 2.30pm, and Regent Theatre Stoke, May 7, 2.30pm); the energetic and magical Cats, (Theatre Royal Nottingham, April 19, 2.30pm and Venue Cymru on June 4, 2.30pm); Evita, starring Marti Pellow as Che Guevara, (Venue Cymru, April 3, 2.30pm); the stomping, storming Rock of Ages (Palace Theatre, Manchester, May 8, 7.30pm), and the highly charged West Side Story, (Leeds Grand, May 24, 2.30pm and Milton Keynes Theatre, June 10, 7.30pm.

World Premieres

North West productions include several world premieres and new plays - a new comedy poking fun at the National Health Service – The May Hurt a Bit, is described at the Octagon Theatre on April 4, 7.30pm, and another fascinating new play - The Life and Times of Mitchell and Kenyon, at the Dukes in Lancaster on May 1st, then at Oldham Coliseum on May 21st.

The Royal Exchange sees two premieres: The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage on May 31, 4pm, and Britannia Waves the Rules by Gareth Farr, winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2011, on Saturday June 7 at 5.45pm.

The second audio described performance at the new Everyman Theatre in Liverpool is the world premiere of Hope Place, audio described on May 22.

Well loved favourites

Meanwhile, The Royal Exchange presents Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, (26 April, 3.30pm) and the Liverpool Playhouse, the Arthur Miller classic: A View From The Bridge, audio described on April 17, 7.30pm.

Hobsons Choice

You also have a second chance to catch Hobson’s Choice when it is audio described at Oldham Coliseum on April 24 in the evening


Gallery tours include a tour of the Jonathan Yeo portraits at the Lowry on April 10 and at Manchester Art Gallery the Thomas Horsfall nature themed exhibition on May 8. As the tours are usually fully booked, please check availability in advance.

Thomas Horsfall Top


Forthcoming Audio Description highlights include the visit of WICKED to Milton Keynes Theatre, February 13, the PROPELLER touring production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, (at Nottingham Theatre Royal on February 19 and at Norwich Theatre Royal on March 27), and the final Library Theatre production at the Lowry - Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL, February 27.

Tickets are hotly in demand at Milton Keynes for WICKED so if you haven’t booked your headsets and for the touch tour already, it’s best to do so very soon!


February 8th is a busy day for Mind’s Eye describers – Chris Berry is describing BLACK COFFEE at Wolverhampton Grand, Eleanor Walk and Maxine Laing are describing BLINDSIDED at Manchester’s Royal Exchange with Julie Hesmondhalgh and Anne Hornsby is describing SINGIN IN THE RAIN for Vocaleyes at Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Also on tour this month – the last Mind’s Eye audio description of GHOST THE MUSICAL, at Liverpool Empire on 14 February. It’s the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day with a moving love story and a good measure of laughs too. (Touch tour time is 6.30pm – please book in advance.)

The ever-popular SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS also drops by Liverpool on February 25 with Sam Attawater.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

New North West productions include Alan Ayckbourn’s BEDROOM FARCE, directed by Robin Herford at Oldham Coliseum, on February 12, and HOBSON’S CHOICE directed by David Thacker at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton on February 21.

Looking ahead to March, we have audio described opera with LA BOHEME at the Royal Albert Hall on March 9, the tour of HAPPY DAYS at Norwich, on March 15, and of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Bradford, March 1. There are two productions of TWELFTH NIGHT to look forward to. The Octagon’s audio description is on March 21, and the other is the opening production of the newly re-opened Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. The audio description is on March 22, so come and try out the new equipment and visit the stylish new theatre!

Twelfth Night Top