Thursday, 24 November 2011

Access London - 1 Today!!

Welcome back to Access London and a huge Thank You once again for your continued support for disabled access to the arts in London.

Today's post is somewhat different as Access London is celebrating its first birthday today!! I can't quite believe it has been a year since I launched this blog and posted the first welcome post - it's been a fantastic year, a lot learnt, hopefully some things achieved and help provided to those needing to know more about access to the theatre and arts in London.

This last year has seen many theatres, galleries, museums and venues reviewed on their access and I'd like to send out a huge thank you to all the staff at all the venues for their help and support over the last year, providing information, interviews and images.

My next Thank You goes to every reader of Access London for your loyal support and for helping to spread the word about it - it is so much appreciated. I do read every single one of your messages, comments, emails and tweets sent and I hope have managed to reply to them all (if I haven't yet, I will very soon, I promise). As I have mentioned on previous posts, if you have any questions about access to any venues, please don't hesitate to get in touch, if the venue hasn't yet been reviewed, it doesn't mean that I don't know details of the access there or the best person for you to contact, but more likely that I haven't yet gotten around to reviewing if officially. If however, you have any questions for people that have been interviewed on Access London (and many of you have sent me questions) it really would be best for you to send them to the person involved, so you can get the most accurate answers and information. I'd also like to thank everyone who has supported Access London and its posts on both Twitter and Facebook - I couldn't have done it without you!

This year Access London noted some important access issues at the Royal Albert Hall -after fairly extensive discussions with management at the Hall, specific changes and improvements were promised - some immediate and some on a more medium-long term plan. I am going back to see a concert there just before Christmas and will hopefully be able to come back to you with good news on some changes that have been made since the Phantom 25 celebrations in October this year. Another venue that presented access issues was the Palladium - not so much in terms of physical access but of disability awareness, staff training and treatment of those with disabilities. Again, various discussions have been had and letters corresponded (of which I received an extremely helpful and supportive one from Andrew Lloyd Webber's office) and once again, I hope to bring news of improvements made at that theatre very soon.

Some of the venues that have proven to be well geared up to help those with disabilities include: The Palace, Her Majesty's, Criterion, Gielgud, Southwark Playhouse, Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Victoria Palace, Haymarket, The Barbican and the Adelphi. There is still much to be done to improve the access for all to our theatres and arts venues in London but these theatres are some that have made an excellent start to being accessible and are showing a good example to others that really do need to look at their access: both the policies they put in place and the physical access to the theatre too.

Access London was recently lucky enough to work with Degrafik, a great young designer who has designed Access London's new logo - a huge Thank You to Damion for all your help. Access London feels it is a fitting time as any to reveal the new logo to you (although my Facebook friends have had a sneak peak at it a couple of weeks ago!)

Access London has been fortunate enough to be able to interview lots of cast members from some truly fabulous shows over the past year and I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge Thank You for the time and support of: Rosemary Ashe, Gina Beck, Kieran Brown, Lee Bowen, Patrick Burbridge, Rebecca Caine, AJ Callaghan, Earl Carpenter, Steven Cleverley, Scott Davies, Stephen John Davis, Janet Devenish, Killian Donnelly, Cynthia Erivo, Sofia Escobar, Sophie Evans, Daniel Gourlay, Celia Graham, Richard Halton, Cameron Jack, Chris Jenkins, John Owen Jones, Paul Keating, Daniel Koek, Joanna Loxton, Myrra Malmberg, Frances Ruffelle, Simon Shorten, Emily Tierney, Katy Treharne, Tabitha Webb, Nick Wyschna, Michael Xavier.

Finally, a special Thank You to some for their continued support and fabulous generosity: Lee Bowen, Sofia Escobar, John Owen Jones, Rebecca Caine, AJ Callaghan, Myrra Malmberg, Nick Wyschna, everyone at The Cavendish Hotel, Her Majesty's Theatre, Palace Theatre, Adelphi Theatre, V&A Museum, and some special Twitter mentions for @LugiLou @inlondonguide @AboutLondonNews @kaydub89.

Access London has at least 2 awareness and fundraising events planned so far for 2012 including, an online charity auction for the beginning of the new year (to include lots of great theatre related items including signed cds and posters) and a charity concert for next September to coincide around the time of the paralympics. Details of the auction will be around from very early on in the new year and the concert throughout 2012, thank you for any and all support you can show for either event.

On that note (and after receiving many requests that I include it in this birthday post), I'll leave you with a video that has been taking Twitter and Youtube by storm over the last week - no, not the trailer for the Phantom25 dvd but, the latest challenge in the johnvskillian battle from the fabulous John Owen Jones and Killian Donnelly - watch for a great laugh and see The Phantom and Raoul as you've never seen them before - check out the rest of the challenges on their Youtube channel....

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