Will McRostie – Founder, Service Coordinator & Lead Describer
Will has been involved in theatre since the age of seven, when he hit the boards in the Hills Youth Theatre’s production of Anne of Green Gables. Ever since, he’s been obsessed with the arts and how participation in creative practice creates better lives.
Will trained in audio description in 2013 with Access2Arts in South Australia, going on to work with most of the state’s arts institutions. Will has also worked in administrative and production roles with Access2Arts, Regional Arts Victoria, Melbourne Theatre Company, Creative Partnerships Australia, Freerange Future, and the Adelaide Festival Centre. Will holds a Certificate II in Auslan, and is in his second year at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) in their Cultural Leadership MFA program.
Will is an active contributor to the development of Australia’s artistic and cultural life who has convened and facilitated conversations for the inaugural Creative State Summit, Melbourne Fringe, Australian Theatre Forum, Victorian Touring Workshop, Malthouse Theatre, Digital Writers Festival and Adelaide Festival of Ideas among others. Will is an alum of the 2018 Australia Council for the Arts Future Leaders Program, was a recipient of 2018 Ian Potter Cultural Trust and Australia Council career development grants supporting a research trip to the UK and Spain, and was part of the 2019 Australia Council delegation to the IETM Spring Plenary in Hull (UK).
In 2019 & 2020, Will expanded his creative and consultation practice, contributing to creative developments for Raspberry Ripple Theatre Company and Romi Kupfer, developing an access consultation process for the CultureLab development program at Arts House, and co-leading a technique development for dance access strategies with Blindful. Will has also worked as a creative consultant for projects with artists Kate Hood for Take Over at Arts Centre Melbourne and Jonathan Homsey for WestProjections festival.
With a personal interest in art, ambition, and radical inclusivity, Will sees audio description as a practical means of outreach for the arts, and a way to empower the participation of a marginalised group in creative practice as both audience and artist.
Ross de Vent – Audience Advocate
Ross de Vent is a musician and multi instrumentalist with experience in singing, trumpet, piano and percussion.
Ross’s recent credits include:
- Singing at, and panellist, in 2017, for Vision Australia’s ‘Dinner in the Dark’
- Co-producing and performing in a concert of vocal duets and solos, in 2016.
- Ross made his solo vocal debut, in Rossini’s ‘Petite messe solennelle,’ In 2015, with ‘Latrobe Chorale’.
- Since 2013, Ross has been involved with church music, singing regularly at ‘Saint Mark’s Fitzroy,’ but also at various other churches around Melbourne.
Playing music from a early age, Ross holds a music degree from Monash University. Ross has played with community music ensembles For many years including playing ‘the Last Post,’ on trumpet, at local ANZAC and Remembrance Day commemorations.
Ross is totally blind and has right-sided paralysis, resulting from a stroke he suffered when he was a child.
Ross’s advocacy work takes various guises which include:
- Teaching at the ‘National Braille Music Camp’ for many years, and in January 2017, he attended the inaugural ‘Braille Music Retreat,’ in New Zealand.
- Audio description for live theatre, in Victoria, as audience advocate, at ‘Description Victoria’.
- Ross transcribes printed sheet music into braille for blind musicians.
- The ‘Australian Braille Authority,’ for which Ross is currently setting up a ‘Regional Braille Forum,’ in Melbourne.
- ‘All Abilities Consultative Committee,’ Through Metro Access, for Mornington Peninsula Shire.
You can follow Ross on twitter @rossdevent, and his blog at https://rossdevent.wordpress.com/
In addition to Will, our practicing describers are currently:
Jean Tong, and
Interested in becoming a describer? You can fill out our rolling training EOI here and we’ll be in touch when the next opportunity comes around.
Description Victoria is governed by a Board, a majority of whom have a lived experience of Blindness or low vision. Members of this group also collaborate on the process of creating descriptions and accessible experiences. Current members include:
Nadia Mattiazzo – Chair,
Francois Jacobs – Deputy Chair,
Georgie Meagher – Treasurer,
Will McRostie – Secretary,
Ross de Vent,
Dr Kevin Murfitt AM