Reflecting on two years of Performance Interpreting

Posted on 17.05.2017

Reflecting on two years of Performance Interpreting

It’s fast approaching Performance Interpreting’s second anniversary, and we are proud of the huge leaps we have made in breaking down barriers for BSL users to access the music and entertainment industry.

Performance Interpreting is a unique company providing BSL Performance Interpreters and Deaf Performers to music and entertainment venues across the UK. In the last 18 months, we have been knocking on doors and prizing them open. Here are just some of the highlights of our story so far…

First Gig – Chilfest, June 2015

Our very first gig! A Deaf friend wanted to attend Chilfest, but there was no interpreting access, so four of us volunteered. Performance Interpreting agreed with the organisers that if our service was successful, they would fund the access appropriately the following year – and it worked! This July will see us providing BSL interpreting provision for the third year running at Chilfest, with continued positive feedback from both Deaf and hearing attendees.

The O2, November 2015

The O2, London opened its doors in 2015 and began working with Performance Interpreting to provide a regular Interpreting Request Service. The O2 has led the way and become a beacon of good practice, and encouraged other venues to follow suit.

British Summer Time, July 2016

In 2016 AEG Live, with support from Performance Interpreting, decided to give away a number of free tickets to Deaf BSL users, who were invited to give feedback on their access experience. We have already had requests by service users to attend British Summer Time events in 2017.

Brighton and Hove Pride, August 2016

We worked with Brighton and Hove Pride for the second year running in 2016, providing the first ever BSL artistic performance by Deaf artists on the main stage. We hope to continue developing the service further for 2017, working closely with the LGBT community forum to improve access.

Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, October 2016

In 2016 Motorpoint Arena Nottingham launched their BSL service, which has proven to be a major success, with BSL users requesting to see anything from Disney on Ice, Ed Sheeran and Steps, to Michael Ball and Alfie Boe. They have since gone on to be awarded an Outstanding Attitude Award for their BSL access services.

The Southbank Centre, 2016

We began working with the Southbank Centre in 2016.  The introduction of our new roaming request service at the Women of the World festival this year received great feedback. We look forward to working closely with the Southbank to develop further engagement with the Deaf community.

The Future...

These are just a few of Performance Interpreting’s customers, and we work with a wide range of organisations committed to providing good access, including Festival Republic, Mayor of London Events, Academy Music Group venues amongst many others.

Deaf people continue to face barriers and discrimination on a daily basis. When access is permitted it is often done so reluctantly, it is not widely advertised, left unregulated and is often of an inadequate standard. Deaf people have a right to a good standard of access, to an experience that is not tokenistic or restricted. Misconceptions and lack of understanding are key factors to inadequate access.

Many service providers make assumptions Deaf people cannot appreciate music. The world of music is not closed if you are Deaf, as individuals have varying degrees of hearing loss, and music can be felt on a physical level by everyone. It is an emotional catharsis, a way to connect to people. Combining this with accessing Music through their preferred language; British Sign Language (BSL), Deaf people can enjoy music on an equal footing.

While there are still many mountains to climb, Performance Interpreting are honoured to be leading the way in changing the face of access to music and entertainment.

Click here to find out more about Performance Interpreting