The Comédie de Genève will be more accessible for the blind and visually impaired. With the Virtuoz device, these disabled people have a tool at their disposal with which they can move independently in the imposing, brand new building.
This is a world premiere in a theater, Natacha Koutchoumov told the media on Monday. For the co-director of the Comédie de Genève, it is important that the institution is accessible to everyone. This question of inclusion appeared central when the theater moved in 2021.
The Virtuoz box was developed in France. It was originally intended to help visually impaired people move around their workplace. Large companies have already adopted this new tool. The Geneva Museum of Art and History followed suit last year. Today it’s comedy’s turn.
“We hope more theaters will follow,” says Amaury Marchandise, founder of Virtuoz. In any case, the demand will not decrease. In Switzerland today, an estimated 350,000 people suffer from a visual impairment. And this number will unfortunately increase in the coming decades.
The Virtuoz device consists of a large relief map at the entrance to the theater. This provides voice information when you run your fingers through it. Thanks to this panel, the visually impaired person can find their location and determine the path to follow to get to the box office.
The mobile Virtuoz boxes are delivered at the ticket counter. Each floor of the theater has been rendered in the form of a tactile map. The user of the device switches cards when they are at the top or bottom of the stairs or when exiting the elevator.
Ali and Saliou demonstrated the system. One is blind, the other visually impaired and both work as testers at Virtuoz. Equipped with their box and thanks to the voice information it provides, they were able to move from the ticket office to the theater toilets two floors below.
A precise description of the places and possible obstacles avoids accidents. “For example, we are informed of the opening direction of the doors,” emphasizes Saliou. “With the arrival of Virtuoz, I finally understood how the building was really constructed,” says Ali.
The Comédie de Genève also offers blind or visually impaired people the opportunity to follow a show with audio accompaniment. The latter gives them several details about the sets and narrates the actors’ movements on stage, allowing them to have a complete theatrical experience.
This article was published automatically. Source: ats