Hi Minister Ian Walker,
It was a pleasure to meet you at the Youth Arts Roundtable on Thursday 20th June, 2013 from 4pm to 5.20pm. I would like to elaborate on the question that you asked me during the meeting regards to requesting an Auslan Interpreter and Captions for Performance shows.
Performance shows with a ticket that cost more than $100 may have the ability to cover the costs of providing Auslan Interpreters or Captions. For example, I purchased a ticket to Ovo (Cirque du Soleil) for $148 and when I was at the show, it was packed house, which means they are likely to be able to cover the cost of services required, even if it is just for one night. Yet, the theatrical company are unwilling to provide an Auslan Interpreters or captions for the show which means, it’s only visual of the whole performance and the deaf participant misses out on the actual storyline.
For example, the cost of the Auslan interpreters can cost up to $3000 for one show and that is including rehearsal practice as the Auslan Interpreters are required to understand the storyline and be able to creatively express the story in Auslan. The big companies that have performance going around the world like Cirque du Soleil, King Kong and Mrs Brown are able to cover the cost through either sponsorship or increasing the ticket slightly. For small theatrical company, providing an Auslan Interpreter might be an issue and this can be resolved through increasing the ticket price slightly which can create a pool of funding for Auslan Interpreters if not used until it is used through request from the Deaf community.
One option might be developing a new policy for ticketing company to provide information about providing one interpreted show if it is demanded by the Deaf community. The policy could encourage the ticketing company to provide accessibility information to theatrical company and how they can make it accessible for the deaf participant to enjoy the show. This policy might also indicate that the ticket price may rise by $3 to $5 to cover the cost of the Auslan Interpreter if the company are unwilling to cover the cost of the Auslan Interpreters. I would be happy to pay good money, just to attend the one night of theatre that is interpreted, just like other theatre-goers. This is not just one option for a solution to this problem and worthwhile investigating to see what other options are available.
This issue does not apply to theatre only. This applies to Festivals as well such as Brisbane Fringe Festival and Brisbane Festival. We are still advocating the event organisers to provide Auslan Interpreters and Captions for any shows like comedy, debates, and performance and still again, a slow process of trying to reach a solution on how the event organiser can provide access to Deaf people.
I hope this gives you a clearer picture of what the issue surrounding the request of Auslan Interpreters for theatre shows and festivals here in Queensland.
I am happy to meet with you to discuss this issue further if needed.
And this is his response: Hon Walker Letter