Audio Description Technology: An Interview with Diane Nutting, Imagination Stage


Diane Nutting, the Director of Access and Inclusion at Imagination Stage , visited the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University last week to discuss strategies for change that organizations working to provide accessible arts experiences might use.  After the presentation, Diane and I chatted about one piece of equipment used in visual and performing arts for patrons who are blind or have low vision: audio description technology. Specifically, we discussed how audio description technology works. What is the training process for creating an audio-described performance? And most importantly, what value can this service bring to an arts organization and the surrounding community?

Diane provided great insight into the use and value of audio description services, as well as cost-saving strategies, approaches to training staff members, and various challenges in implementation and creation. All of this in just 20 minutes!

I left the conversation with three key pieces of advice:

1.     Audio description has progressed to its own art form. To use it effectively requires practice, training, and talent.

2.     It is okay to use descriptors that are predominately visual (for example, using colors to describe costume and set pieces). There is a spectrum of vision within the group of attending patrons.

3.     Investing the time, money, and commitment to audio description technology ultimately means you are growing your audience. Diane says it best: “For the community as a whole, it’s about bringing other people to the table.”

It was a great conversation, and AMT Lab is thankful to Diane for taking time to share her knowledge. You can listen to the full discussion on SoundCloud (below). 

What is your organization’s experience with audio description technology? Join in the conversation by commenting below, or emailing me at