Other shortlisted practices 2014

A barrier-free theatre for blind and visually impaired

Due to theater4all blind and visually impaired theatergoers can enjoy the performance without any restrictions. The only thing they need is a little radio or a smart phone with headset. Before the play starts, information about content and the stage design is given. During the performance the action on stage is described.

“For blind Theater4all is not a luxury, but an important contribution for them to
gain independence and autonomy in our society.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Theater4all
Organisation:Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs
of origin
Beneficiaries targeted Blind and visually impaired
Approach/ model/ solution:Audio descriptions to make theatre accessible


  • the project was initiated in September 2012
  • at the moment six persons are employed by AUDIO 2, amongst them two audio commentators
  • some visitors enjoy the service of Theater4all continuously, others attend only single performances, altogether between 50 and 100 persons have benefited from the project


Theater visitors usually try to get “good seats”, to be able to see the stage design and decoration, as well as the gesture and mimic expression of the actors. Blind and visually impaired people miss all of those things, which are important for holistic impression of the play.


Theater4all aims to create a barrier-free access for blind and visually impaired to theatre. During the play a professional audio commentator describes the current action on stage, without disturbing the dialogue of the actors. Later on, after the performance is finished, the blind and visually impaired have the possibility to discuss the play together with the audio commentator. The idea of the audio descriptions was met with great enthusiasm and was experienced as a big personal enrichment. Because of the need for professional audio engineers and the expensive equipment, the costs for one performance add up to 1.500 Euro. In order to provide the services of Theater4all, the support of sponsors is necessary.


At present Theater4all takes place in three of Vienna´s most famous theatres –“Burgtheater”, “Volkstheater” and “Schauspielhaus”. “Burgtheater” offers once a month a prevailing play with audio comments. Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide continually audio commented plays in the other theatres, because of the lacking financial resources. The project is financially supported by the department for culture of the city Vienna. Plans are for the project to be perpetuated and expanded for which additional sponsors are necessary.

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Johannes Karner, one of the Audio commentators from the team of AUDIO2
(Picture: AUDIO2)


Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs
Jägerstraße 36 I 1200 Wien, Austria
01 330 35 45-82