The process and experience of booking a theatre ticket can make the difference between a positive or a negative theatre experience for any patron, but particularly for someone who faces additional access barriers and who wants to make use of a specific service.
What patrons tell us …
“When I rang the box office they didn’t know what I was talking about.”
“I missed the touch tour simply because no one told me about it.”
“I can see a little so like to use the description headset but also sit in the front row.”
Audiences for AD performances will want to buy tickets in a range of ways.
• In person: staff will need awareness training – one of the main problems faced by participants in SOLT’s Access All Areas (Jan 2008) research was being passed from staff member to staff member because not all were aware of the AD performances and the needs of blind and partially sighted patrons.
• Mobile box office: many venues have found it effective to visit social groups that meet regularly, talk about the event and sell tickets directly to members.
• By phone: most visually impaired people prefer this method and telemarketing can be effective.
• Email: particularly if there is a named contact managing access bookings.
• Online booking: is a good method if it’s truly accessible. Online systems can cause problems for visually impaired patrons who use screen-readers such as JAWS.
• Ticket agents: This method came in for a lot of criticism from participants in the Access All Areas research. All ticket agent staff would need to be aware of your policies for booking seats at assisted performances, but as that’s difficult to manage it would be preferable to set up a dedicated contact person or phone number to manage access bookings.