For our audio-described performances, we have a Touch Tour just before the show. These tours allow visually impaired guests to familiarise themselves with the set, props and costumes. Some of these visitors will come with their own assistance dog and we also allow them to be part of the tour. But what is it like for the pup’s perspective?
Hello, I am Legend, an 18-month-old guide dog and my owner’s name is Lloyd.
Lloyd accompanied me on my first visit to Birmingham Hippodrome for an Audio Described Performance of the pantomime Cinderella. On arrival the Touch Tour team greeted us and we were taken to join the eighteen people and two other guide dogs, Emily and Euan for the Touch Tour prior to the performance.
Everyone, including Emily, Euan and the audio describers, Jonathan and Jo, greeted Lloyd and me. Together we were taken along the corridors passing costumes and funny looking animals, which did not look or smell like anything I had experienced before, onto the stage.
Wow! The stage was full of fantastic smells and sights.
I glanced from the stage and could see the seats, chandeliers and large glittering ball hanging from the ceiling. My paws were walking on a stage floor that had a pattern shining on it. Jonathan and Jo explained the scenery and the variety of props and passed them around for everyone to feel. I nuzzled and sniffed the exotic feathery headdresses and glitter costumes with great interest.
Two white fluffy mice with pink ears, noses and paws were passed right in front of my nose but they did not smell of mice.
Finally, we were shown a trick stool, whose seat would collapse. This made everyone laugh. I must make sure Lloyd never sits on it.
Lloyd was now much more aware of what was on the stage and what things looked and felt like when the audio describers mentioned them during the show.
We all gathered back in the foyer and I along with Emily and Euan were relieved from duty by our owners and taken by the Touch Tour team to have a walk, followed by a drink and rest. After loads of fuss Emily, Euan and I fell asleep.
When the show finished we had our harnesses put back on and went down to meet our owners as they came out of the auditorium.
I said goodbye to Emily and Euan, then Lloyd and I were put into a taxi to go home. It had been a really wonderful time for both of us. I hope I can come back soon and see my Birmingham Hippodrome friends, of both the two and four-legged variety.
Thank you all so much.
For more information on our Assisted and Relaxed Performances, click here.