In 1990, Frédéric Le Du was Jérôme Savary's assistant director. He was curious, with a discerning eye for everything around him. He came across an article on audio description in cinemas. He was convinced that audio description would prove useful for the performing arts. He took the plunge, developing audio description for theatre and opera in France.
The first theatre play with audio description was Le Songe d’une nuit d’été (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), directed by Jérôme Savary at Théâtre National de Chaillot.
Frédéric Le Du did not forget about the hearing impaired audience. He organised performances surtitled in French.
The deaf audience speaking French Sign Language (FSL) also became a priority. With the support of SERAC, performances were interpreted in FSL.
ACCES CULTURE WAS FOUNDED
Accès Culture developed an individual surtitling case at Théâtre National de Chaillot and at the Comédie-Française. The surtitling was on a few lines, in black and white.
It was improved in 2003 via tablets that display the entire text with a colour code specifically for the surtitling.
Creation of an original sensory performance in the dark, La Maison des Farfadets, meant to raise the awareness of sighted children and adults about the world of visually impaired people.
The Orange Foundation supported the association in providing audio description for the opera Le Voyage à Reims (Journey to Reims) in 19 opera houses in France.
The Accès Culture network started to expand from 2006 onwards.
Surtitling above or to the side of the stage replaced surtitling on individual screens.
The General delegation for French and the languages of France (the Ministry of Culture and Communication) supported the development of a network of organisations hosting performances interpreted in French sign language, with the touring performance of Tel quel !
Accès Culture was asked to produce the audio description for a hip-hop dance performance, Les Silences obligés, and the ballet L’Histoire de Manon, which France Télévisions broadcast.