Thursday, 29 August 2013

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Welcome back to Access London and thank you once again for supporting Access for All to the Arts. Today's post is on Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the Southbank. For information on Access to the Globe's exhibition space and tours, search the Access London blog for previous posts. Both are Accessible and well worth visiting. The guides on the tours are incredibly knowledgeable and disability aware.
The Globe currently has several productions running (please check their website to see running dates of each). These productions include: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Henry VI Parts 1-3 (Harry the Sixth, The Houses of York and Lancaster, The True Tragedy of the Duke of York), Blue Stockings and The Lightning Child (from September). Also look out for the Globe's touring production of The Taming of the Shrew in September in the UK.
Access Information: Entry to the box office and foyer is through heavy glass double doors. There is an automatic door for ease of use for wheelchair and scooter users and those with other disabilities. There is the box office, information desk and a bar on this level, all Accessible. Next to the box office is a lift that goes up to the Piazza level where there is a shop, toilet facilities and the main entrance to the theatre itself. If you are a scooter user, you will not be able to take this into the theatre. You can either transfer into one of the Globe's wheelchairs or walk in. For wheelchair users and those who cannot manage stairs or to stand for the performance (the Globe has 700 standing tickets for every show), Gentleman's Box P is your best bet. This can only be accessed via a backstage lift so please make sure you arrive in plenty of time for a FOH member to take you there. The box is located overlooking the side of the stage and is covered. It has enough space for 3 wheelchairs and a companion for each. The other option for wheelchair users is a raised wheelchair platform in the yard itself. Again, please arrive in plenty of time so that the platform can be placed in the best position (remember the yard is not covered).
There is an induction loop available in the theatre. Again, please remember the outdoor nature of the Globe and therefore all sounds will be amplified. The Globe does have a small number of digital headsets available to use. Assistance dogs are welcome in the theatre and can either remain with you during the performance or FOH will care for them for you. Outside the main entrance there are 2-3 blue badge bays. These do get taken very quickly however. Alternatively, The Globe has a couple of parking spaces on site for wheelchair users and Access patrons. If you need to make use of these, I would recommend booking one as soon as you've booked your tickets as these too can go quickly, especially for weekend and popular performances. You can book one (and also find out about Access provision for your specific needs) by calling the Globe's dedicated Access line on 020 7902 1409, open 9-5 Monday-Friday. I can't praise David, who runs the line, highly enough, incredibly helpful - Thank you to everyone who sent in very positive feedback about him, it's always great to hear when places are doing well with their Access and disability awareness!
Patrons with disabilities are entitled to a half price seated ticket or 2 for 1 if bringing a companion. Please make all bookings for Access tickets via the box office on 0207 401 9919 or by going in person. You cannot book Access tickets online. There is an Audio Described performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on 31st August at 2pm. There is a Captioned performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on the 7th September at 2pm. For advice on where best to sit for these performances, please ask the box office when booking. Overall, I'd say The Globe is one of the best theatres in London for Access awareness and delivery and improvements made. For more information about the Globe and current and future productions, please visit their website at

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