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Audio description and captioning

Audio description is additional verbal commentary of visuals during TV programs, on DVDs, at live performances and at cinema presentations. It can include descriptions of different visual elements, including scenes, actions, settings, and costumes.

Captioning is the text version of speech and other sounds. Captions can be used on television programs, DVDs and movies, and can also be used to support online content. There are 2 types of captions—closed captions, which are selected by a user; and open captions, which automatically appear on a screen.

Media Access Australia can provide more information about:


Some cinemas in Queensland currently offer audio description as well as closed and open captioning for films. You can contact the following cinemas for information about services:

  • Event Cinemas has information on upcoming films with audio description and closed captioning. (You can also find a cinema and contact them directly for session times and service details.)
  • BIGSCREEN Cinemas at Hervey Bay also run accessible services and can be contacted on (07) 4124 8200.

Four major cinema chains in Australia have committed to making captions and audio description available in all of their cinemas by 2014 as part of the Australian Government-funded Cinema Access Implementation Plan. These are:

You can provide feedback about your personal experience with the closed captioning and audio description devices being used by the major cinema chains by emailing

Theatre, ballet and opera

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), in conjunction with Access Arts and Vision Australia, offers an audio description service for theatre, ballet and opera performances.


Audio description was trialled by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2012 on channel ABC1. More information about the audio description trial is available from:

If you have specific questions about the trial, contact Media Access Australia on

Audio described theatre, ballet and opera

A scene from the Queensland Ballet's production of Swan Lake.

Photographer: Ken Sparrow, with image courtesy of Queensland Ballet.

Patrons and volunteer audio describers are helping to deliver an audio description service for theatre, ballet and opera performances at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane.

Find out about upcoming audio described performances.

Vision Australia's Audio Description Service

Vision Australia is the major provider for audio description for the performing and visual arts across Australia.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
18 July 2016
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