UK theatre information:
Information for theatregoers with disabilities
The facilities for theatregoers with disabilities varies considerably amongst UK theatres, with the more modern ones being the best and the oldest buildings generally not providing everything you could want, partly because their listed status prevents major alterations.
As the majority of London theatres are listed Victorian or Edwardian buildings, when disabled theatregoers were not planned for, many of the buildings have poor facilities. Newer venues such as the Barbican have been designed with disabled access and facilities in mind and getting around is easy.
If you require disabled facilities, let the theatre's Box Office know when booking your tickets so they can make arrangements if necessary and make sure you get seats in the required area. At the bottom of this page there is a list of sites with further information for theatregoers with disabilities.
Each theatre offers different levels of facilities for theatregoers with disabilities. Whenever possible we have tried to indicate the available facilities for each theatre. This information is provided from what we receive and you should always check with the theatre before booking.
This is particularly a problem with older listed buildings, though some newer buildings can be problematic too. You may need to go in through a side entrance. Wheelchair spaces are generally provided in certain areas. Health and Safety or licensing regulation my require each wheelchair user to be accompanied by an able bodied assistant. The good news is that the assistant usually gets a reduced price ticket. Theatres have an assistant who can assist you, and even bring you a drink from the bar during the interval.
In some theatres you may be able to use transfer seating, in some this is the only option.
Do let the Box Office know if you require assistance or special arrangements need to be made.
Guide dogs and Braille services
Guide dogs are normally welcomed, but not generally allowed into the auditorium. They can usually be looked after by the theatres staff during a performance.
Braille is only available at a few theatres. Check out the link below for Vocaleyes.
Availability varies and the general rule of "newer buildings having better facilities" applies.
Facilities for hearing impaired theatregoers
There may be facilities such as an induction loop or infra-red system with headsets available. Whenever we have this information for a theatre we have pointed this out on the theatre's information page. You may need to be seated in a certain area to get the best reception. A deposit may be required for the headsets. Check out the link below for Stagetext.
Theatregoers with limited mobility
If you have problems walking more than a few steps or up steps let the theatre know when booking your tickets. They may be able to make arrangements if given advance notice of your requirements.
Other sources of Information
There are several sites that have useful information for theatregoers with disabilities.
- Vocaleyes a nationwide audio description service for people with a visual impairment, providing access to the best in the arts.
- Artsline disability access information service
- Stagetext provides captioning for theatres and other venues to provide access to live performances for people with hearing loss.
- Society Of London Theatre publish The Disabled Access Guide available at Box Offices in London Theatres.
- Shape gives disabled and elderly people access to reduced price tickets, as well as providing transport and escorts by assistants.
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