The Sightlines Team
Jonathan spent 35 years years of his career in the theatre and music industry, working as stage-crew, Box Office Manager, Front-of-House Manager, and Project Co-ordinator. He trained as an audio describer in 1993 and set up Sightlines together with Margaret Spittles the following year.
Together with Margaret, Jonathan was one of the founding describers with the London based audio-description charity, Vocaleyes, and still works regularly for them some twenty years later. He frequently describes West End Productions including both the long running Phantom of the Opera, and the Mousetrap as well as numerous UK Theatre tours.
Jonathan has been a freelance Project Manager on a number of Corporate presentation and training projects. Clients include Barclays Bank, Camelot and the BMW Mini Plant Oxford.
Currently Jonathan lives in Dawlish with his partner Daniel.
Margaret has been an audio describer since 1992 when The Royal Shakespeare Company sponsored her audio-description training, and she described for them on a regular basis both at Stratford-upon-Avon and on tour. From 1994-1997 she was co-ordinator of the RSC's group of describers, making her responsible for the staffing and organisation of the audio-description programme at Stratford.
In 1994 with her fellow describer Jonathan Nash she founded the audio description service Sightlines.
During the last ten years Sightlines has been at the forefront of establishing audio-described opera in the UK. They currently work with The Welsh National Opera, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and English National Opera at the London Coliseum. Sightlines also provides an audio description service in various theatres in and around the country including Torquay, Birmingham and Nottingham.
Together with Jonathan, Margaret was one of the founding describers with the London based audio-description charity, 'Vocaleyes'. She has described many various different types of performances from drama and comedy, musicals and pantomime to opera and ballet, and enjoys the challenges that such diversity brings.
With her husband Brian a retired academic author, she lives in a small Devon town tucked under the edge of Dartmoor. They have a little tabby cat called Marmite, a large garden with a wonderful view, and spend a lot of their free time walking or photographing their fabulous environment.
Julia has been an Audio describer for over fifteen years. She started her training and work with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Julia still describes for the RSC, but her work has expanded to include all kinds of drama, from Shakespeare to pantomime and musicals, opera and ballet.
Julia works for many theatres and companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Vocaleyes, Birmingham Rep, Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Together with Margaret, Jonathan and the Sightlines team, she also provides audio introductions for the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.
Towards the end of 2015 Julia was involved in a first. The audio description of the live recording of Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Hamlet' from the Barbican which was shown in cinemas across the world.
Julia is married to Charles, their two sons are married, and a new grandson has just arrived. Julia and Charles live in a small Northamptonshire village, with two badly behaved dogs.
Willie Elliot first started working as a free lance audio describer in 2001 with Graeae Theatre Company in their production of 'The Changeling. He became a regular describer for Vocaleys and frequently describes The Lion King, The Jersey Boys and many productions for the Almeida and the Donmar Warehouse theatres. He has worked on a wide variety of events such as the Liberty Festival and Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.
2011 took Willie to Adelaide to spend time training describers and creating relationships with artists. He returned in 2013 to run another training course, and to describe at the Adelaide International Festival - 'Never Did Me Any Harm' a dance piece by Force Majeure. 'The Ham Funeral' by the State theatre Company of South Australia, and 'The Caretaker', a production starring Jonathan Pryce that came from The Liverpool Everyman.
In 2012 Willie co-described the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games on More 4. This was the first time that a live event was audio-described on an open television channel, without the need to use the red button. He also described two productions connected with the Cultural Olympiade; 'Breathe', celebrated the opening of the sailing event in Weymouth, and 'Resonance at a Still Point of Change", a song cycle performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank.
March 2014 bought the opening and closing ceremonies for the Winter Paralympics, described live for Channel 4 and he continues to deliver live description regularly in theatres around the country.
"Audio description is not a fixed thing with a single approach. Every production is unique, and the describer needs to be flexible enough to recognise the requirements for each".
Mary's career as a describer began 25 years ago at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End as a volunteer with the London Audio description Service. She later turned professional while describing at various venues in Greater London. Most of her work has been with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and on tour. In 2012 Mary joined Sightlines as a scripter for their audio introductions to opera and ballet. She also trains on the Audio description Association's accredited course for stage describers, and edits ADA's publications, including its free e-bulletin Note Pad. Mary can be reached at email@example.com
Ruth qualified as an audio describer in 2007. She is a member of the Vocaleyes team of describers, and in 2012 joined the Sightlines team to work with them on audio introductions for The Royal Opera House and English National Opera. Ruth also has her own freelance work. Her descriptions include musicals, opera, physical theatre and pantomime.
Jane enjoys a challenge, and since qualifying as a describer in 1999, she's worked on a wide range of plays, operas, films and television programmes: not to mention circus and street festivals.
Currently she works in a range of theatres, independently and for Vocaleyes, and prepares and presents audio introductions for Sightlines at the Royal Opera House and English National Opera. With a background in broadcasting, she enjoys recording and editing as well as writing descriptions.
She lives with her husband in a Hampshire market town, and when not toiling over a description script, likes going walking or singing with a local choir.
Ellie came to Audio Description via a decree in Art History, seven years organising museum art exhibitions and hundreds of hours recording Art History textbooks for the use of blind and dyslexic university students. She was trained by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2001 and has worked for them ever since in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and on tour.
She has also described plays for other organisations at the Barbican, the Soho Theatre and the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. She is a member of the Sightlines team which provides recorded audio introductions for the Royal Opera House and for English National Opera.