Theatres to host Disabled Access Day
Theatres across the UK will be hosting events, including captioned performances and accessible venue tours, as part of Disabled Access Day.
West End venues the Apollo Victoria Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre are among the theatres participating in the nationwide event on March 12, which will see 100 organisations, charities and attractions take part. In total, 40 theatres are taking part across the UK.
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre will host a captioned and audio-described performance of Private Lives, as well as a touch tour, which allows people who are blind or visually impaired to familiarise themselves with set, props and costumes, as well as tour the stage ahead of a performance.
The Waterside is one of 13 Ambassador Theatre Group venues taking part in the event, now in its second year. The West End's Apollo Victoria Theatre will host venue touch tours and talks from the National Autistic Society and captioning specialists Stagetext.
Other ATG venues taking part include the Playhouse Theatre in London, which will host charity organisation Guide Dogs for a staff training session, as well as bringing guide dog puppies, trainee dogs and qualified dogs to meet audience members at the matinee and evening performances of The End of Longing, currently running in the venue.
The nationwide event was founded by Euan's Guide, a listing and review site with information for disabled people and their families on venues and attractions across the UK.
ATG head of learning and access Karen Townsend stressed the importance of finding inventive solutions to access barriers in theatre, which she said has historically been perceived as difficult for people with a disability.
"We are delighted that our venues are able to participate to help support this fantastic annual day, and help Euan's Guide grow nationally," she added.
Other theatres taking part include the National Theatre, Birmingham Rep and Sheffield Theatres – which will stage a relaxed performance of Gangsta Granny.
The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Leeds Grand Theatre will also take part, with the Leeds Grand hosting an audio described performance of Northern Ballet's Swan Lake.
Kiki MacDonald, co-founder of Euan's Guide, said: "We were inspired by the idea of Disabled Access Day and the potential for it to increase the numbers of conversations between venues and disabled people, as well as to raise the profile of disabled access."
"We were delighted by the backing from many venues, organisations and businesses that got involved, in particular their appetite to improve their own accessibility and to get more feedback from disabled people."