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Theatregoers in Belfast accused of faking disabilities to get free tickets

Belfast's Grand Opera House, which suspects some customers are abusing a free ticket scheme.
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Belfast’s Grand Opera House is to review an access scheme for disabled customers, following evidence that it is being abused by people pretending to have disabilities.

Launched in September last year, the free-to-join Access for All scheme provides a complimentary ticket to carers accompanying paying disabled audience members.

The venue says it has issued more than 3,000 free tickets to its 1,200 registered members during its first year of operation “ensuring that many disabled people have been able to access the arts who otherwise may not have been able to.”

However, theatre bosses have now written to the scheme’s members announcing a review following the discovery that it is “being misused and seen as an opportunity to avail of free tickets”.

Chief executive Mary-Clare Deane said: “The scheme has been hugely successful and we hope that access for the most disadvantaged members of our community continues in the future. We will continue to liaise with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and our in-house disability advisory group to ensure that we maximize this access for those with disabilities and will be monitoring the use of the scheme in the New Year before introducing any changes.”


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