I’ve always been a huge fan of the theatre. From an early age I’ve been incredibly lucky that my parents gave me plenty of opportunities to take part in and watch productions. Once I could no longer perform on stage, I still wanted to watch performances, particularly in musical theatre. I wanted to share with you a few things in this blog which have helped me access the arts.
(Assistance) Dog Sitting
One relatively new thing at my local theatre is a ‘dog sitting service’ for those guests who have assistance dogs. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea, because the amount of times my poor (black) dog gets accidentally trodden on in the small space is unbelievable. So now, I can leave him in the capable hands of the ushers. The last time I was at the theatre, I found out that whilst I was enjoying the performance, Spencer (my assistance dog) had gone for a walk, played with all the staff and also sold merchandise. At the end of the night, I have never had so many people shout “bye Spencer!”.
Last year, I noticed an advertisement online for dance workshops. Being a wheelchair user, it’s very rare that something comes up which is specifically an ‘accessible’ workshop. This one, by Matthew Bourne’s company, sounded exciting and I really wanted to attend so asked if I could take part in my wheelchair. I can honestly say it was fantastic and they were extremely accommodating. So, if you see a workshop in your area which is in the arts industry, there’s no harm in asking if you can attend and see if they can adapt to your needs.
The Newbies – Bloggers
I certainly feel like there’s a new pocket of theatre accessibility information out there which is exceptional and it’s coming from people with real life experience. I have followed bloggers such as ‘Life of Pippa’ and ‘Shona Louise’ who regularly review venues and performances all around the country. They both have disabilities themselves, which means they know exactly what’s needed and they’re both huge theatre fans so I promise you’ll get fabulous content. So, if you’re looking at visiting a particular theatre or show, do have a look at their review sections on their blogs.
I’m glad to see that most theatres are starting to make positive changes and I’m enjoying being part of the community again. I still think there are a number of aspects which can be improved upon, especially when it comes to booking, but I hope that the accessibility in all the arts will continue to develop.