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

Important notice! Due to the outbreak of the Coronovirus some audio description events may be cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future. Please ensure you stay safe and well during these difficult times.

Mind's Eye News 2020

Christmas Greetings

We’ve reached December, and so, it’s time
To try to write my seasonal rhyme,
But it’s hard to do, as no-one knows
What’s going to happen with our shows!

Lancaster has a low R rate,
But has been lumped with all Lancashire,
So The Dukes, like Birmingham Alex and Stoke Regent,
And Bristol Hippodrome, are in the wrong tier.

For those of us in Greater Manchester,
Looks like our shows won’t go ahead,
And because we’re discouraged from travelling,
You can’t go to shows in Chester or Liverpool instead.

Apparently, it’s all up for review
When we reach December 16th,
But fingers crossed, shows will happen still
In Norwich and Milton Keynes.

We share the theatres’ frustrations;
We share the audiences’ pain,
And until the next time we can present it,
Hang on for live theatre – again!

In the meantime, best wishes for Christmas,
And let’s hope that the theatre scene,
Can recover and bounce back fully next year
When at last we’ve got the vaccine!

Mind's Eye News December 2020

November and Onwards:

Just as some of our theatres were tentatively re-opening with audio described shows, they are once again closing their doors. We don’t know if the December shows will go ahead, and the dates are subject to change, but these are the details we have at present. We do put the latest news on Twitter (MindsEyeArts) and Facebook (mindseyedescription) as soon as we have details, and also you can listen out for me talking to Allan Russell, on RNIB Connect Radio, where I do regular interviews.

The first live audio description since the start of lockdown, took place at HOME, Manchester, on 24th October and it was very exciting to be back in a theatre. To book for audio described HOME shows, or films, please call 0161 200 1500 or go to: homemcr.org once details are confirmed. We hope that this show will be able to go ahead:

SH!T ACTUALLY on December 19th 7.30pm


Sh!t Theatre presents “A two-woman 100% faithful, word-by-word* remake of the Christmas film we all hate to love”.

Christmas in Liverpool

Two Christmas shows have now been announced for Liverpool theatres but the dates may be subject to change – please do book early as seating is limited with fewer tickets available than usual.

THE ROYAL COURT SELECTION BOX, a seasonal Variety performance was due to go ahead on the 2nd of December. However, this event has now been postponed until the 13th of January at 8pm. (The date is likely to change) This promises to be an evening of real enjoyment, celebration and laughs, performed by many Royal Court favourites and directed by Stephen Fletcher. Well, 2020 has been a load of old baubles but the gang from the Court will put the smiles back on your faces with this year’s Christmas show – The Royal Court Selection Box! Featuring comedy, music, prizes to be won and little bits of some of our most popular shows over the years. To book go to: liverpoolsroyalcourt.com or call: 0151 709 4321.

Spy Monkey Christmas Carol

On 17th December, (to be confirmed) Liverpool Playhouse presents the perennial favourite – A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted from Charles Dickens’ much loved story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitations! add copy if necessary – “purveyors of playfulness and physical comedy, Spymonkey, present a festive treat, guaranteed to be exquisitely silly, with music, merriment and plenty of heart” “Put on your best Victorian bib-and-tucker and hold on to your stovepipe hat as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future whisk us on a brilliantly funny flight of theatrical fancy” .. If you would like to book please email: boxoffice@everymanplayhouse.com Also – advance notice that the Everyman panto, ROBIN HOOD will be audio described on January 4, 2022!

A Circus Carol Norwich

Christmas in Norwich

The two shows at Norwich Theatre Royal are hopefully going ahead on 19th December: PANTO IN A PICKLE at 2pm. There has been a terrible mess-up in Panto-land. What is Cinderella doing with those magic beans? Why did Captain Hook stop Snow White going to the ball? How did Aladdin end up in an enchanted sleep? This really is Panto in a Pickle! and A CIRCUS CAROL at 4.30pm.

Combining acrobatics and truly amazing trickery with ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, this marvelously intricate re-imagining captures all the thrills and spills of the original festival tale with even more spectacle.

Other News:

Chester Storyhouse

Storyhouse are hoping to programme an audio described performance for their production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL a show full of song and laughter. The show is scheduled to go ahead on the 5th of January at 7pm.


This year’s Festival is going online, with many of the events audio described. For details of the programme, visit the website: www.dadafest.co.uk

Mantelpiece Exhibitions

Bolton Art Gallery

I have really been enjoying working on audio guides to two current exhibitions at Bolton Art Gallery. They are MANTELPIECE OBSERVATIONS, by Richard Slee, inspired by part of the research of the Mass Observation Studies in the late 30s, and MANTELPIECE STORIES, a selection of photographs and a film focussing on six Bolton individuals today and the stories around their precious objects.

MANTELPIECE OBERSERVATIONS is available to listen to online at https://soundcloud.com/mindseyedescription

The Stories guide is currently being recorded by members of Bolton Newstalk so will be available shortly. They will also be available on the Bolton Library and Museums Service You Tube platform.

Gallery Oldham

Similarly Gallery Oldham has commissioned an audio guide to their RAINDROPS exhibition, which explores all aspects of water and how we use it. This guide will be available on the Mind’s Eye soundcloud site from November 9th.

Stay safe and well in these strange times and I do hope to see you before too long!

Remember to check which shows may go ahead on our events page.

View the events calendar

Three recent poems to share with you:

Home from Home: 21st October 2020

I am here in a theatre,
After seven months long!
At a Dress Rehearsal
With action and song!
I am here in a theatre,
Where HOME feels like home,
With blind customers on Saturday,
So, I won’t be alone.
Yes, I’m back in a theatre,
Where the performance is LIVE!
Masked, sanitised and distant,
But we have survived!

Back to Work!: 24th October 2020

Black clothes are out of the wardrobe,
Ready, and pressed, and clean,
For the first live audio description,
Since the start of Covid 19!
It’s a show about the pandemic,
Performed by the amazing Rash Dash,
Lasting about 85 minutes,
It races by in a flash!
Hurray for the blind customers,
Braving a visit today,
We’’ll keep you safe, and secure, at HOME,
We sure you’ll enjoy our play!

Full Lockdown 2: 1st November 2020

I was getting so excited
About being in the theatre again,
Now all of that good feeling,
Has slipped right down the drain.
We had climbed up a ladder,
But now slide down a snake,
Having work just snatched away,
Can be hard to take.
All of our November shows,
Will, effectively, be banned,
And, no-one knows if Christmas shows,
Will take place as was planned.
When the news came in, (eventually), last night,
I didn’t feel too great;
It’s tempting to withdraw oneself,
And just latibulate -
That’s a wonderful word, I recently heard,
From the seventeenth century –
It means to sit in a corner and hide,
To escape from reality.
Let’s focus on access for online arts,
Whilst In full lockdown we’re stuck;
Keep sane, keep positive, sending love,
Good health to all and good luck!


In the first week of the month, there are three performances at the Storyhouse Chester. One of the funniest shows ever written, with belly laughs guaranteed, The Suicide is audio described on Wednesday, 4 March at 19:30. Simon is a man on the edge. With his life falling apart, he starts to contemplate his own end. What should be a simple tragedy, becomes a total farce as this quick-paced, high-stakes comedy is dragged kicking and screaming into 21st century Chester.

Based on the true story of the women who fought to gain the same qualifications as men, Blue Stockings is audio described on Thursday, 5 March at 14:30. It is 1896. Tess Moffat and her fellow first-years are allowed to attend University, just like the young men, but aren’t allowed to graduate. Four defiant young women battle the cruelty of class divides, the distractions of love and the men ready to do anything to stop them, as they fight to change the future of education. The Suicide and Blue Stockings will be described by Anne Hornsby.

British-Hong Kong playwright Amy Ng has adapted the thrilling psychological classic, Miss Julie, into a new politically-charged production that is audio described on Sunday, 8 March at 14:30. It’s Chinese New Year in 1940s Hong Kong and celebrations are in full swing. Julie, the daughter of the island’s British Governor, crashes the servant’s party downstairs. What starts as a game descends into a fight for survival as sex, power, money and race collide on a hot night in the Pearl River Delta.

scene from four minutes twelve seconds

Deeply provocative and a topical drama that was nominated for an Olivier Award on its West End debut in 2015, Four Minutes, Twelve Seconds is audio described at the Oldham Coliseum on Thursday, 5 March at 19:30. Nothing dies online…except reputation. Seventeen-year-old Jack has a bright future ahead of him. His parents, Di and David, have devoted their lives to giving him every opportunity they never had. As a result, Jack is smart, outgoing, and well on his way to leaving Oldham to study law at university. But a startling incident threatens to ruin everything they've striven for: an intimate video of Jack and his girlfriend Cara has appeared online. As events begin to accelerate, Di and David start to doubt their son, his closest friends, and ultimately themselves – who can they trust? This story deals with how we see ourselves and others, the dangers of modern technology and how far parents will go to protect their children.

Miss Julie and Four Minutes, Twelve Seconds will be described by Chris Berry.

Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, returns to the Alhambra Bradford and is audio described by Anne on Saturday, 7 March at 14:30. Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. This tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit song-writing team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless classics such as (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof, and The Locomotion.

scene from The Sound Of Music

On the same day and time, one of the greatest musicals of all time returns to the stage in a magnificent production to enchant and enthral the young and the young at heart, as The Sound of Music is audio described at the Wolverhampton Grand. Based on Baroness Maria Von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, this wonderfully lavish new staging of this production tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII. The unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, and of course, the title song, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music will be described by Theo Hornsby.

The worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton, We Will Rock You, is coming to Venue Cymru and is audio described by Anne on Wednesday, 11 March at 19:30 and on Thursday, 2 April at 19:30 at the Liverpool Empire. The multi-million-pound show dazzles all the senses in breath-taking style. Guaranteed to blow your mind, this musical phenomenon is not to be missed!

Insane Animals

Making its world premiere at HOME Manchester, Insane Animals is audio described on Friday, 13 March at 19:30. It is an epic joyride from the dawn of civilisation to the sequinned near future. With the planet in chaos and humanity hurtling towards extinction, two hyper-glam aliens arrive on earth with a simple mission: to help the human species survive. But first they just have to figure out what makes humans human… how hard can it be? Insane Animals will be described by Theo.

Radio City is under threat, the accountants have been in and the whole station is set to be replaced by a feed direct from London and the famous tower will be shut down and turned into the world’s tallest Home and Bargain, as Pete Price is Dead is audio described by Anne at the Royal Court Liverpool on Wednesday, 25 March at 20:00. They’ve got one chance of survival, a rich American has arrived and is about to buy the station to keep it in Liverpool. The deal goes through today but only if all of the presenters sign up to the new schedule. There’s only one problem… Pete Price is dead. Written by Radio City’s Leanne Campbell and directed and developed by Stephen Fletcher, this is an uproarious new comedy about what happens when the biggest mouth in Liverpool gets permanently shut. Can Leanne and Producer Archie (Ray Quinn) stash the body and keep the investors happy? Who will get Pete’s parking space? What will happen to his huge collection of celebrity selfies?

Tune in to find out what happens when Pete tunes out.

on your feet advert banner

Direct from London and featuring many of the original West End cast, On Your Feet is audio described at the Leeds Grand on Thursday, 26 March at 19:30. This ‘exhilarating extravaganza’ (WHATSONSTAGE) is the inspiring true love story of Emilio and Gloria and charts their journey from its origins in Cuba, onto the streets of Miami and finally to international superstardom. Featuring all of their smash hits including Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Conga, Get On Your Feet, Don’t Want To Lose You Now, Dr. Bea t and 1-2-3 . Starring Philippa Stefani (RENT, In the Heights, Grease), as Gloria Estefan, George Ioannides (Annie, MAMMA MIA!, An Officer and a Gentleman) as Emilio Estefan, Madalena Alberto (Evita, Cats, Les Misérables) as Gloria Fajardo and Karen Mann (Sister Act, Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd) as Consuelo. On Your Feet will be described by Pat Hayes.

Our Lady of Blundellsands is a hilariously twisted comic drama written for the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse by Jonathan Harvey, award-winning creator of Gimme Gimme Gimme and Beautiful Thing and you can catch it audio described by Anne on Thursday, 26 March at 19:30. It’s about families and fantasies, honesty and lies – and about how heartbreaking great comedy can be. It’s no secret that Sylvie is unravelling. Frozen in time in her Blundellsands house, she inhabits a fantasy world that never was. Garnet, her sister, is older and wiser – and wearier, with her shopping lists and tired love. She’s always fanned the flames of Sylvie’s fantasies. Because if she didn’t… who knows where they’d both end up? But now the whole family’s up in Liverpool for a birthday, and Garnet’s got a secret of her own to pass on. There’ll be a party… but it’s not going to be pretty. Welcome to a family more messed up than your own.

scene from Blood Brothers

To end the month on Saturday, 28 March, there are two fantastic audio described performances both at 14:30. Written by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers is on at the Wolverhampton Grand, whilst the fabulous musical Mamma Mia! Is on at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham. Theo will describe Blood Brothers, whilst Anne is with Mamma Mia!

Going into April, on Saturday 4th, you can catch two great audio described performances both at 14:30. It's murder putting on a new musical (literally) as Curtains is on at the Wolverhampton Grand. Jessica Cranshaw, star of the new Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, has been murdered on stage on opening night! The entire cast and crew are suspects. Time to call in the local detective, Frank Cioffi, who just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a lifeline. Starring Jason Manford (The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls), Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba and Carly Stenson (Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, Shrek, Spamalot and Hollyoaks), this hilarious whodunnit is packed full of catchy songs, unforgettable characters and plot twists galore! From creators of Cabaret and Chicago, this Tony award-winning backstage murder mystery musical will have audiences laughing and guessing right to the final curtain.

Winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award, Winsome Pinnock’s astonishing new play, Rockets and Blue Lights is on at the Royal Exchange Manchester. 'I am the slave ship. Wrecked. Empty. I am a shark, livid with the desire for blood. I am the sea, boiling with fury.' Amid the gloom of Victorian England, Thomas, a black sailor prepares to take one last voyage, while an ageing Turner seeks artistic inspiration in a half-remembered story. In 21st Century London, an actress finds herself handcuffed by history – two centuries after abolitionists won her ancestors their freedom. This story retells British history through the prism of the slave trade. Fusing fact with fiction, past with present, the powerfully personal with the fiercely political, this epic production asks who owns our past - and who has the right to tell its stories?

Also in March you can catch David Thacker’s production of Happy Days at the Library Theatre, Bolton and there are audio described tours at The Portico on March 16, for The Portico Library.

Talking Sense: The changing vocabulary of mind and brain and at Tate Liverpool on March 21st for the THEASTER GATES exhibition.

We look forward to welcoming you soon and also wanted to let you know that the new season for the Octagon Theatre is now onsale!

February Audio Description News

2020 is well underway for Mind’s Eye, with audio-descriptions of shows and exhibitions!

We follow on from a very successful 2019, where our vital statistics were as follows:

We provided 196 audio descriptions for live events. Our blind and partially sighted audience was 1221, accompanied by 2471 companions.

Our 14 projects using recorded audio work included: audio brochures; audio description to accompany live theatre performances; recorded audio descriptions for use in galleries and museums; and audio description for films and web content.

Anne Hornsby ran 8 training events for 90 participants.

In February 2020, the shows on offer include:

We Will Rock you poster

We Will Rock You, featuring all the best Queen songs, including Killer Queen, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Another One Bites the Dust, and the beautiful and haunting These Are the Days of Our Lives.

You can catch the show in Manchester on 5 February, in Llandudno, on 22 February in Bradford, on 11 March and in Liverpool on 2 April.

Jane Eyre Is audio described at Wolverhampton Arena Theatre on February 7, Joseph at Bradford Alhambra on the 8th , and the latest comedy at Liverpool’s Royal Court, hits us on February 12th – Lost in Colomendy.

scene from A little space

The Ghecko Show, A Little Space is audio described on February 15th, at HOME, Manchester, and Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, at Wolverhampton Grand on February 22nd.

Greek coastal view from Shirley Valentine

The Octagon Theatre presents another play at the intimate Library Theatre, with Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine, on February 25th, and there will be audio description for a Dada Scratch Event at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool on February 27th.

the Sound of Music

To finish the month, we have three audio described shows on the 29th – The King and I, at Milton Keynes Theatre, Wuthering Heights at the Royal Exchange Theatre, and The Sound of Music at Bradford Alhambra.

Highlights for March include three audio described shows in one week at Storyhouse, Chester, with Blue Stockings, The Suicide and Miss Julie, Four Minutes and Twelve Seconds at Oldham Coliseum, Beautiful at Bradford Alhambra, Mamma Mia in Hull and Nottingham, and in Liverpool, Our Lady of Blundellsands at the Everyman and a described tour of the Theaster Gates exhibition at The Tate.

See you soon!