Sunday, 26 February 2012

Jersey Boys and The Prince Edward Theatre

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

The Hit Musical, Jersey Boys, plays at The Prince Edward Theatre, located on Old Compton Street in Soho.


JERSEY BOYS, The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is now playing at the Prince Edward Theatre, London. Discover the rags to rock to riches tale of four boys working their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of international pop-stardom.


Access for wheelchair/scooter users and those who cannot manage stairs to the Prince Edward auditorium is via a double exit door on Greek Street, to the right hand side of the theatre's main entrance on Old Compton Street. There is disabled Access to the theatre foyer from Old Compton Street where the box office is located but, from here, there are stairs into the auditorium. Simply ask someone at the entrance and they will escort you around to the Accessible entrance.

Inside the Accessible entrance, there is a short ramp up into Box 1 where there is space for 2 wheelchairs and companion seats. The entrance is Accessible to scooter users but the Box isn't really geared up for it so you would be better to transfer from your scooter into a theatre seat in the Box. Staff are happy to take and store your scooter during the performance. It is also quite a tight turn from the Accessible entrance doors into the Box and some scooters may struggle with this - my advice, transfer, if you can! There is also some transfer seating available in Row A of the Dress Circle.

The theatre has a Loop System fitted and headsets are available from the Access attendant for a deposit of £5. Up to 2 Assistance dogs are permitted into the auditorium for any one show or, the Access attendant can sit with them during the performance, if you would prefer.

The only bar that is Accessible is the one in the foyer. To reach this during the interval, you would need to go back out onto Greek Street and around to the main entrance on Old Compton Street. However, staff at the Prince Edward are extremely helpful and the Access attendant is more than happy to go and bring drinks/programmes etc to you before the performance or at the interval. The only Accessible WC in the theatre is again in the foyer, so this means a trip back out onto Greek Street and around to the main entrance if you need to use this during the interval. Staff are happy to assist with the trip round though but my advice would be, unless you really want/need to go the bar or toilet at the interval, try to avoid doing so.

There are concessions available on the Access rate for disabled patrons and 1 companion. To book Access seats to see Jersey Boys, please call the Access line on 0844 482 5137. This is the main Access line for all Delfont Mackintosh theatres so simply select the option for the Prince Edward when prompted and it will direct you straight through to their box office (lines are open Minday-Friday).
You can also send Access enquiries via email to

Monday, 13 February 2012

Billy Elliot The Musical & The Victoria Palace Theatre

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

The award winning musical Billy Elliot plays at the Victoria Palace Theatre and has been entertaining audiences since 2005.

"Set in a Northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Follow Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever."

Victoria Palace Theatre is a short distance from Victoria Station and on the North side of Victoria Street. The main entrance has a very small (3cm) step up into the foyer and box office area. From here, the most accessible area of the auditorium are the stalls which are down 4 steps from the foyer. The steps have handrails either side.

For wheelchair and scooter users and for those who cannot manage steps, there is a level access entrance in Allington Street which is to the left of the theatre. Simply inform someone at the front of the theatre and they will open this level entrance for you. Inside, there is an accessible WC (if you haven't got a RADAR key, please let a member of staff know and they will open it for you). This entrance leads directly into the back of the stalls. Scooters can be stored and brought to you in the interval and at the end of the performance.

For wheelchair users that cannot transfer, there are 2 spaces at P36 and M36 where you can remain in your chair throughout the performance and your companion can remain close by. If you can transfer, then any aisle seat in the stalls (subject to availability) can be booked. In addition to the 2 wheelchair spaces, 4 wheelchairs or scooters can be stored per performance.

Assistance dogs are permitted into the auditorium and staff can dog sit during the performance in the Manager's office. There is an infrared system in the auditorium with both loop and conventional headsets available. These must be booked in advance and a small deposit is required - please ask the access assistant on arrival for your headset.

There are sign interpreted performances of Billy Elliot on:
Thursday 9th August 2012 Matinee Performance (2.30pm)
Friday 7th September 2012 Evening Performance (7.30pm)

There are Audio Described performances of Billy Elliot on:
Saturday 1st September 2012 Matinee Performance
Thursday 6th September 2012 Matinee Performance

There are captioned performances of Billy Elliot on:
Tuesday 28th August 2012 Evening Performance
Saturday 8th September 2012 Matinee Performance

Performances are Monday-Saturday evenings at 7.30pm and matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

To book Access tickets for Billy Elliot (currently priced at £27.50 each for you and a companion in the stalls of the Victoria Palace Theatre), please call the Access line at the box office directly on: 020 7834 1170. Access bookings and enquiries can also be made via email at

For all other tickets, please call the box office on: 0844 811 0055.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Phantom of the Opera & Cast Interview with Simon Shorten

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 an update on some of the Access information for Her Majesty's Theatre, home to Phantom of the Opera and located on the Haymarket. There is also an interview with cast member Simon Shorten.

Her Majesty's Theatre has level access for wheelchairs, scooters and those who cannot manage stairs on Charles II street. Simply make yourself known to someone at the front of the theatre (usually someone is around from 30 minutes before a performance) and they will escort you around to the side entrance. This entrance leads into the rear of the stalls.

The stalls have a storage area for wheelchairs and scooters and an accessible WC. There are spaces for 4 wheelchairs in row S in the stalls. If you can transfer, any aisle seat in the stalls can be booked (subject to availability). An usher is assigned to help and assist those in the wheelchair spaces and transfer seats.

There is an infra-red hearing loop system with 10 headsets available to use - these can be collected from the cloakroom or ask a member of staff for one (a receipt needs to be signed). Two assistance dogs per performance are permitted at Her Majesty's. Large print programmes and braille cast lists are also available upon request. Overall, Her Majesty's is very accessible and has some of the most disability aware staff I know of in any London theatre!

There are performances Monday-Saturday at 7.30pm and also matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

To book Access Tickets for Phantom (currently from £22.50 each for you and a companion/carer in the stalls!) please call: 0844 412 4648. For all other tickets, please call: 0844 412 4653.

Today's interview is with Simon Shorten who is Swing and covers the role of The Phantom at Her Majesty's. I'd like to once again say a huge Thank You to Simon for his time and support.

When you first went on for The Phantom, how did it feel to step onto the stage as that iconic character?

Absolutely incredible, there's no other feeling like it, terrifying but exhilarating at the same time

How do you get on with the make up process for The Phantom?

I actually really enjoy it, we normally start at 6:55pm, it takes around 40-45 mins but for me it's a great time to relax and chat with the make up and wig staff and listen to some music whilst seeing myself become this unbelievably grotesque Character.

It's very surreal to go through, but once I know the make up is on, I hardly notice it's there.

Do you have a favourite song or scene to perform as The Phantom?

Final lair without a doubt, I love it. It's just so brutal for everyone, all three of us get thrown around, there's so much passion and tension, it's an amazing scene to be a part of.

What do you think is the key to Phantom's success?

I think it's really simple. It's just one of those stories that many people can relate to, at some point, we've experienced the themes that run throughout the show, and those feelings don't go away easily. Phantom almost forces you to remember, it did for me anyway.

Her Majesty's is fantastic for disabled access, what is it like as a theatre to perform in?

It's incredible, a beautiful building with a lovely atmosphere out front and backstage, there is so much space it's easy to slip away for some quiet time should you need it.

How did it feel to be part of the Phantom 25 celebrations?

Humbling. Being quite new to the show, it was an incredible experience to meet all the great people who have been involved in the show over the years and to see the amount of support it received from the audiences. I'll never forget it.

What is your most memorable moment from Phantom 25?

Being the phantom double in the journey to the 1st lair, great to have a moment to briefly play the Phantom for such an iconic moment, (and a lovely bit of screen time on the DVD too lol) ;)

The designs for Phantom are breathtaking, do you have a favourite?

Costume - you simply cannot beat the suit. I've never had a suit tailored for me, and if you were ever going to have one, you'd want it to be the Phantom's. It feels incredible to wear, I absolutely love it.

Set - I love the simplicity of the auction, not to give too much away for those who haven't seen it, but how that seen progresses to Hannibal always makes me go wow that is cooooool lol !!

If you could play any role in musical theatre, what would it be and why?

I love to play the darker characters, Sweeney Todd would be my ultimate want, it's one of my favourite shows, that would be very special for me (fingers crossed eh)

Do you have a message for the Phantom audiences and fans?

I've met some wonderful people during my time here, I can't thank you enough for all the love and support you give me, you guys are awesome, Thank you so much!!

Also, keep your eyes peeled for updates on my website, as I have some great projects lined up throughout the year!!!

Lots of love

Simon. Xxx

You can also keep up to date with Simon's news by following him on Twitter @SiShorten