Out and about An evening with

An evening with a whisperer

Laetitia Dumont-Lewi des Chuchotines © Suzie Waroude
By Marie
Published on 18/06/2024

This year, at the festival Les Nuits de Fourvière, people with a visual impairment can choose to be accompanied by a “whisperer” who provides a description of what’s happening on stage

This is a service that has been provided by the initiative Les Chuchotines for more than a year, in a dozen theatres partnered with the Lyon metropolitan authority. This summer, festival-goers will be able to benefit from the service at Les Nuits de Fourvière. “I’m delighted to see that theatres are making the most of this initiative and that there is greater accessibility to shows for people with visual impairments,” enthused Laetitia Dumont-Lewi, lecturer in theatre studies at Lyon 2 University, who initiated the project. 

As the head of an audio-description course, Laetitia Dumont-Lewi has, since the start of the 2022 academic year, offered training for third-year students of the bachelor’s in performing arts to become a whisperer. “Audio-description has a significant cost,” she added. “Theatres that offer this service are unable to do so for all their shows.
They offer it on a specific date for a few shows.
” This is why ‘Les Chuchotines’ is being provided as an alternative, “which enables people with a visual impairment to really be included, to have the choice to go to the show they really want to.” 

How is the service provided exactly?
If access to the venue itself is difficult, the whisperer can arrange to meet the person at a public transport stop. At the venue, the whisperer tells audience members around them that there will be whispering and the reason why. When it begins, the whisperer gives a description of the show’s visual elements for the person to experience them as they happen: “With Les Chuchotines, the idea is to discover a show together and to convey, in the moment, part of one’s own perception. Partly because of the physical proximity, this is a singular experience.

Les Chuchotines at Les Nuits de Fourvière

To use this service for the show Black Label, by JoeyStarr & David Bobée, simply let the ticket office know that you require a ‘chuchotine’ (whisperer)