Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas To All From Access London

Welcome back to Access London. A huge Thank You to everyone that has followed and supported this blog and cause in 2011 - Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

With lots going on in the Capital in 2012, it should be a year to remember. Thank you for all your Christmas messages this week and emails on what you're looking forward to seeing next year. To answer one question many of you asked me in those messages: I'm starting off the new year by seeing Matilda, Pippin and Tosca (ENO) in January.

At the end of January, Access London will be holding an online auction with lots of great theatre treats, hopefully you can join in and I look forward to seeing you there - more details to follow at the beginning of the new year.

I believe I've answered most messages sent to me up until Thursday this week, if you sent me one after this day, I will get back to you shortly after Christmas. All that's left for me to say in this post is Merry Christmas and enjoy the day wherever you are and whoever you are spending it with.

I'll leave you with a few messages from some MT performers who have been kind enough to show support for Access London this year. Once again, a Huge Thank You to them all, your time and support is always so much appreciated.....

"I wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with Joy, Love, Magic and Music! Thank You for all your love and support!"

"Desejo a todos um Feliz Natal cheio de alegria, amor, magia e musica! Muito obrigada pelo vosso carinho e apoio!"

From Sofia Escobar, Phantom of the Opera.

Sofia is currently playing Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre and has extended her contract there until September 2012. You can see her perform Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evening performances and Thursday and Saturday matinees. To book Access rate tickets to see Phantom, call: 0844 412 4648.You can follow Sofia on Twitter @sofia_escobar

"A Merry Christmas from the UK tour of South Pacific. Thanks to Access London for their support. Lots of Love and Festive Cheer to you all! x"

From Nick Wyschna, South Pacific.

Nick is currently playing Buzz Adams in the UK tour of South Pacific at The Oxford New Theatre until 31st December and then moving to The Mayflower Southampton 17 January - 4 February 2012.
You can buy Nick's album 'Lost In The Wilderness' from his website HERE
And follow him on Twitter @NickWyschna

"Nadolig Llawen to all Access London readers! See you on tour next year!"

From John Owen Jones, Phantom of the Opera 2012 Tour.

John will be playing the role of The Phantom during its 25th Anniversary 2012 tour which opens in Plymouth 27 February - 31 March 2012. He also has a new album coming out in Spring 2012. You can buy his current album from Dress Circle HERE
You can follow John on Twitter @johnowenjones

"Happy Christmas everyone! Here's hoping 2012 will bring total access to ALL theatre goers."

From Rebecca Caine, Musical Theatre & Opera Soprano.

Rebecca will be performing with the 3 Phantoms once again in February (10 and 11) at the Chichester Festival Theatre - to book tickets, including access rates, call 01243 781 312. Rebecca also has her own concert on 25 March at The Pheasantry, London - booking information to be released in the new year, definitely one for the diary although unfortunately the venue is only accessible via a flight of alomst 30 steps. If you can manage these though, please do book and go.
You can buy Rebecca's album 'Leading Ladies' from Dress Circle HERE
You can also follow her on Twitter @RebeccaCaine

"Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all you lovely people! Look forward to exciting things happening in 2012 for Access London! x"

From Lee Bowen, Musical Theatre and Opera Tenor

Lee will be appearing at Iford Arts Festival in 2012 singing Dr Caius in Verdi's Falstaff. For more information, visit You can also follow Lee on Twitter @LeeBowenTenor

"To all the Phantom fans.....Thanks for your ongoing support. Wishing you all a very Happy and Peaceful Xmas and a fabulous 2012!! xxLove Scottyxx"

From Scott Davies, Phantom of the Opera & Tosca

Scott is currently stand-by Phantom at her Majesty's theatre until September 2012. He is also currently performing at the English National Opera (London Coliseum) as Spoletta in Tosca. Final performaces are on 17, 21, 24 and 29 January. To book Access tickets, you can join the ENO's Access Scheme for free to be entitled to the Access rate, call 0871 472 0666.

"Hi all! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Hope to see you at Her Majesty's very soon. Lots of Love, Jo."

From Joanna Loxton, Phantom of the Opera

Jo is currently playing Madame Firmin in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. She also covers for the role of Madame Giry. To see Jo perform as Madame Giry, these are the next dates that she is on: 2-4 February and 26 March - 4 April 2012. To book Access tickets to Phantom of the Opera, call: 0844 412 4648. You can follow Jo on Twitter @Joloxton

"From the sunny South Pacific to Access London and all your readers, a very very Merry Christmas to you all."

From Chris Jenkins, South Pacific

Chris is currently Swing and Assistant Dance Captain on the UK tour of South Pacific at The Oxford New Theatre until 31st December and then moving to The Mayflower Southhampton 17 January - 4 February 2012.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @chrisjenko

"Hi Everyone. Australia is great, nice to be home for Xmas! Hoping to be back in the UK very soon! Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas."

From Daniel Gourlay, Dancer, Singer, Actor

Daniel was part of the London 'Love Never Dies' cast. He is currently at home in Australia but hopes to be back in the UK soon.
You can follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielGourlay89

"For all of you who have any relationship with the fantastic Access London, have a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous 2012! Please keep going to the theatre and challenging and enjoying not only yourselves but those who create the work! Mx"

From Michael Xavier, Actor and Singer

Michael will perform opposite Connie Fisher on a 3 month tour of Wonderful Town from March 2012.
To keep up to date with all of Michael's news, please have a look at his website, where you can also listen to soundclips of him singing.... MICHAEL XAVIER
You can also follow Michael on Twitter @michaelxavierMX

"Hope you all had a Happy Christmas. Wishing everyone a healthy, bright and wonderful 2012. X"

From AJ Callaghan, Les Miserables

AJ is currently performing in Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre and also covers the role of Fantine. To see AJ as Fantine, these are the next dates that she is covering: 2-11 January and 6-8 February 2012.
To book Access tickets to see Les Miserables, call 0844 482 5137.

"Here's hoping you have a very Happy New (Olympic) Year filled with exciting and stimulating theatre experiences. May you continue in your fabulous, undying support of the arts and look forward with me, to a raft of new shows and concerts in 2012. With love, Richard Halton"

To keep up with all of Richard's news, visit his website
You can also follow him on Twitter @richiehalton

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Ladykillers @ The Gielgud

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

The Ladykillers opened at The Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue last month. Based on the celebrated Ealing comedy, it is a new adaption by Graham Linehan (Father Ted) and directed by Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote).

"THE LADYKILLERS is a classic black comedy; a sweet little old lady, alone in her house, is pitted against a gang of criminal misfits who will stop at nothing...

Posing as amateur musicians, Professor Marcus and his gang rent rooms in the lopsided house of sweet but strict Mrs Wilberforce. The villains plot to involve her, unwittingly, in Marcus’ brilliantly conceived heist job. The police are left stumped but Mrs Wilberforce becomes wise to their ruse and Marcus concludes that there is only one way to keep the old lady quiet. With only her parrot, General Gordon, to help her, Mrs W. is alone with five desperate men. But who will be forced to face the music?"

Booking has now extended until the 14th April 2012. To book Access tickets to The Ladykillers, call the dedicated Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Access line on 0844 482 5137 - follow the options to The Gielgud Theatre and you will be connected directly with the theatre box office. Access rates and concessions are available to those with disabilities and a companion/carer.

For all other ticket types, you can book online HERE

If you are a wheelchair or scooter user, just notify someone at the front of the theatre upon arrival and a side Exit door will be opened for you on Rupert Street (third door along). There is one step at this door but there is ramp that can be placed over it to allow for access. There is step-free access to the foyer bar where there is also an accessible WC.

There are 2 dedicated wheelchair spaces in the dress circle (at either end of row B). Alternatively, if you can transfer, seats B5 and B30 in the dress circle are step-free. The theatre has an infra-red system with 12 headsets that can be borrowed from the foyer - note that a receipt must be signed for the use of these upon presenting ID. Assistance dogs are allowed into the auditorium, alternatively, staff can sit with the dog during the performance. Everyone at the theatre is extremely helpful and has great disability awareness.

COMING SOON: Jersey Boys, Billy Elliot, Royal Albert Hall update

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Cavendish Hotel - Winter Deals and Cocktails

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for supporting disabled access in London.

Today's post is dedicated to the Cavendish Hotel - Access London's recommended hotel. Located on Jermyn Street, a stone's throw from Piccadilly Circus, The Cavendish is ideally placed to visit theatres, galleries, shops and attractions. The accessible entrance is via the hotel's drop off point on Duke Street where there is level access into the reception area and lifts up to the lounge, restaurant, lounge bar and rooms.

For those wishing to catch a show whilst staying at The Cavendish, the nearest theatres include: The Criterion Theatre (The 39 Steps), Her Majesty's (Phantom of the Opera), Jermyn Street Theatre (check their website for latest show - this theatre has no step-free access though), Theatre Royal Haymarket (currently - The Lion In Winter), Gielgud (currently The Ladykillers), Queens (Les Miserables), Lyric (Thriller Live!).

Other attractions close to the hotel include The Royal Academy of Art, just 2 minutes away on Piccadilly, Royal Parks (Green Park and St James'), National and Portrait Galleries, Buckingham Palace, Fortnum & Masons, the shops of Jermyn Street and Regent Street.

The Cavendish has some beautifully designed accessible rooms available that include an accessible roll-in shower room. For those with more mobility, treat yourself to a stay in an Executive room - includes a seperate shower and bath, but not a roll-in one - the room however is plenty big enough to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters.

The Cavendish has some fantastic, festive Winter Deals on right now, lasting through to the end of January, you can find out all the details HERE . If you do require an accessible room though, you will need to ring the main reservations number on 020 7930 2111 and check the rooms are available for the dates you require before booking them online. The Petrichor restaurant at The Cavendish is offering a special Christmas lunch and dinner menu which can be seen HERE .

Petrichor can be accessed using a ramp if you are a wheelchair or scooter user or there are 3 shallow steps with a handrail. Once inside, the restaurant is spacious with a choice of different types of seating and ample room for wheelchairs. You can make a booking or enquire further by calling the Petrichor on 020 7930 2111. The Cavendish have also created a festive twist on their traditional afternoon tea for the holiday season - their lounge is a great place to stop off after Christmas shopping to relax and enjoy afternoon tea for under £20 per person! For details on all the festive deals and goings-on at The Cavendish SEE THEIR WEBSITE HERE

Finally, I recently went to a cocktail evening and masterclass at The Cavendish, led by cocktail experts Gabor and Warren. I would definitely recommend a trip to one of the two bars at the hotel to try one of this season's delicious cocktails, all at very reasonable prices. The lounge bar is fully accessible if you are a wheelchair or scooter user and is on the 1st floor - accessed via one of the 3 lifts from the ground floor reception area. The lobby bar can only be accessed by several steps but there is a handrail if you are able to manage a few steps. However you choose to, enjoy The Cavendish Hotel this festive season!

COMING SOON: Billy Elliot, Pippin, Jersey Boys, The Ladykillers

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Lion In Winter - Theatre Royal Haymarket

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for continuing to support disabled access to the arts in London.

Today's post is dedicated to the Theatre Royal Haymarket and its current production, The Lion In Winter.

"A family Christmas becomes a family at war. Henry II, not so young as he was, invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitane, and his three sons, Richard, Geoffrey and John, to spend the festive season with him, his mistress Princess Alais, and her brother, the young King Philip of France. Will Henry name who is to be his successor as King of England? Their yuletide celebration turns into a combat zone of deceit, betrayal, bitter power games and scabrous wit."

The Lion In Winter is the latest production to be directed by Trevor Nunn at the Haymarket this season and stars Joanna Lumley as Eleanor and Robert Lindsay as King Henry II.

The show runs until the 28 January 2012 with performances Monday - Saturday evenings (7.30pm) and matinees on Thursday and Saturday (2.30pm). To book Access tickets, please contact the box office directly on 020 7930 8800. For all other bookings, please call 0845 481 1870.

Theatre Royal Haymarket can be accessed via 3 steps up into the foyer (with many additional steps into the auditorium). If you are a wheelchair or scooter user or cannot manage stairs, please inform the box office when you book your tickets and then someone at the front of the theatre and one of the side exit doors on the Haymarket will be opened for you. If you are a scooter user, it is best to ask for the right side doors to be opened as this leads to the scooter storage area. Both sets of doors lead into the rear of the stalls where there is an accessible WC.

Once in the stalls, there is 1 space for a wheelchair user who cannot transfer at the back of the stalls. If you can transfer, you can book tickets for any aisle seat in the stalls (G1 and G21 have the most leg room). It should be noted that the stalls area does slope more steeply towards the stage than some other West End theatres but ushers are very helpful. There aren't any bars that are accessible but it can be arranged for an interval drink to be brought to you if you cannot manage stairs.

Assistance dogs are not allowed into the auditorium but they can be looked after by staff during the performance. Infra red headsets are available from the foyer (or ask an usher if you cannot manage stairs) - a £10, refundable deposit is required.

Blue badge parking is available on Whitcomb Street, Charles II Street and in St James' Square. Most bays have no time restrictions after 6.00pm but it is always best to check the signs at each one.

For more details on the show and theatre see the Theatre Royal Haymarket Website

Thank you to everyone who posted lovely comments on last week's birthday post for Access London and sent emails and tweets - the support is very much appreciated.

COMING SOON: Pippin at Menier Chocolate Factory, Jersey Boys, The Globe Exhibition