What do patrons say they want?
“A theatre experience approximating what it used to be like for me.”
“To be able to enjoy the show like anyone else.”
“I want to feel like I’ve seen the performance.”
People with sensory impairments think a good theatregoing experience is one where they feel they have had an equal experience, the same as everyone else.
Once someone has had a good experience at a venue, whether at an assisted performance or not, they are more likely to become repeat attenders.
Blind or visually impaired people are less likely to want to, or be able to, come to the theatre alone. Some, mainly older people, enjoy attending clubs, groups or voluntary organisations. However, around 15% of people who participated in the Network 1000 survey said they do not do any leisure activities outside of the home.
“When you lose your sight suddenly, it’s boring, your life becomes dull – things that stimulate you are incredibly important. It’s wonderful being a mum and being a wife but you have to do things for yourself.”
What you can do …
- Promote your desire to offer equal access.
- Be transparent about any barriers or difficulties that you face in providing equal access and actively engage with local blind and partially sighted people to help find solutions to those barriers.
- Consider building social networking structures into the theatre-going experience by encouraging people to come with friends and family or by creating opportunities for meeting and talking to others. You could create a social event out of the gap between touch tour and performance.
- If you offer a companion concession, make sure you let blind and partially sighted people know.