Nottingham Playhouse is committed to creating a warm and welcoming environment for our artists and audiences alike, and we work hard to ensure the Playhouse is open to everyone.
Not only do we make sure our building and productions are physically welcoming to those with additional access needs, but we also want to ensure that we make our digital content accessible too. We did a lot of work on the Access area of our website to ensure our audiences could easily find the information relevant to them. This included adding the Access menu to top level navigation so that is was easily reached by screen readers, as well as separating content into subpages which focussed on specific needs. We now have dedicated webpages on level access and wheelchair spaces, relaxed performances, dementia-friendly performances, BSL interpreted and captioned performances, audio
description and touch tours. Alongside this, we created a lot of new content for these webpages, including video explanations, visual stories and audio guides, aiming to explain information in the most appropriate way for those who need it.
Accessibility will always be a focus for us at the Playhouse and we’re always trying to find ways of improving. Our new website which we’re currently working on will be a huge part of this – we can’t wait to launch this in the summer. We’re looking forward to sharing more learnings with the consortium and to learning from others too.
To go alongside each of our produced shows, the Participation team creates an Insight Pack. These are a good example of bespoke material for schools and young people to engage more carefully and closely with the productions.
For these access focussed shows in particular, the packs are a mix of vibrant visuals, and text that is as clear and brief as possible. These are often sent out in advance of the show to schools who were attending so that young people could be engaged and seeking answers to questions as they watched the shows, being proactive, not reactive. We also offered large text versions of these packs.
For Our Country’s Good, we also created video insights:
New for our 2019 pantomime season was Panto on Demand. We recorded last year’s panto, Sleeping Beauty, and allowed organisations who weren’t able to come and see panto in person for whatever reason, to apply to watch it remotely.
We had over 50 submissions from care homes, schools, hospital wards and others. Some, we signposted to existing schemes they weren’t aware of such as Dementia-Friendly, Pay What You Can, HotHouse etc. whilst those who were successful were guided by our team to be able to watch the panto from their location.
The video was captioned and we provided a visual story to go alongside.
Here are a few examples of our promotional videos for The Government Inspector.
We created a microsite that collates everything you need to see, hear and read about across the theatre industry. Here’s our marketing team sharing the lessons they learnt whilst creating it.
New Wolsey Marketing Officer Katherine, shares her personal lessons during the process.
The road between people and stories should always be two-way. People head to stories for entertainment, comfort, inspiration or just to feel they belong, which is why it’s so important that stories in turn should include everyone.
There are going to be plenty of ways to get involved with An Agent for Change across the country as more Agents for Change positions are created more opportunities will arise. This is an exciting time for the development of access and this is your chance to get involved!
If you would like to submit an article from elsewhere, blog post about an experience you have had (positive or negative!) or even a video of something you have seen that helps tell our story of change, you can do it here. Please make your stories compelling and shareable, relevant and provocative, and we’ll do the rest.