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, www.simon-shorten.com as I have some great projects lined up throughout the year!!!
Lots of love
You can also keep up to date with Simon's news by following him on Twitter @SiShorten