Sunday, 29 April 2012

The 39 Steps & The Criterion Theatre

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for taking the time to support Access to the Arts for All.
>"Playing both the West End and Broadway, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller, The 39 Steps, brilliantly and hilariously recreated as the smash hit Olivier Award Winning Best New Comedy. This blissfully funny show follows the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women. This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action." The Cast: London Criterion Theatre ANDREW ALEXANDER: Richard Hannay CATHERINE BAILEY: Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret STEPHEN CRITCHLOW: Man IAN HUGHES: Man SABRINA CARTER: Understudy Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret LEE RANNS: Understudy Hannay TOM WALKER: Understudy Man
The Criterion Theatre can be found in the centre of the West End, on Piccadilly Circus. The theatre is located below street level and so the main entrance only has Access to the auditorium via steps. However, there is a separate entrance at the back of the theatre, on Jermyn Street (next to the Stage Door), that provides step-free Access to the Upper Circle. Simply show your tickets to someone at the front of the theatre on Piccadilly and they will direct you to the Accessible entrance where someone will meet you. Inside the Accessible entrance there is a slope down to the Upper Circle, there is also an Accessible WC just before you get into the auditorium. There are spaces for 2 wheelchairs in the Upper Circle and also transfer seats for wheelchair and scooter users. Transfer seats do have 1 step up into the row.
There is a portable induction loop available at the Box Office and a Sennheiser infra-red hearing system in all parts of the auditorium. Headsets are available for patrons from the Cloakroom (if you are using the step-free entrance, please ask a member of staff to collect one for you). Occasional sign language interpreted performances are also played - please contact the Box Office for dates and more information on 020 7839 8811. Assistance dogs are not allowed into the auditorium but staff can dog-sit during the performance - a maximum of 2 dogs per performance. There is no step-free Access to a bar at the Criterion. However, drinks can be brought to disabled patrons. To book Discounted Access Tickets for The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre, please call the theatre directly on 020 7839 8811 and ask to be put through to the Box Office. Discounted Access Tickets are usually £15 each for disabled patrons and 1 companion.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Singin' In The Rain & The Palace Theatre

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for helping to support Disabled Access to the Arts.

Following its critically-acclaimed, sold-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, Singin' in the Rain is currently running at London's Palace Theatre.

"It's the roaring 20's and silent movie stars are the biggest names in the world. Don Lockwood has it all, a string of hit films and a studio-engineered romance with the most beautiful actress in town. But with the new phenomenon of the talking picture on the way and a chance meeting with a talented young chorus girl set to steal his heart, things are about to change for Don and for Hollywood forever.

With all the charm, romance, comedy and tinsel town glamour of one of the world's best-loved films, Jonathan Church's brand new production features a glorious score including the classics Good Morning, Make 'em Laugh, Moses Supposes and the legendary Singin' in the Rain.

Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley and Scarlett Strallen are a joyous trio, dazzling in the roles made famous by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. They lead a multi-talented cast which also features Katherine Kingsley as the hilarious blonde bombshell Lina Lamont, Michael Brandon as the highly-strung studio boss trying to win Hollywood's biggest prize, the first hit 'talkie' and Sandra Dickinson as gossip columnist Dora Bailey.

With stylish, soaring choreography from Andrew Wright and Simon Higlett's sumptuous set design, Singin' in the Rain will shower you with everything you could ever want in a hit West End musical!"

Performances are Monday - Saturday evenings at 7.30pm. There are also Matinee performances at 3.00pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Access into the theatre: If you are able to negotiate some steps then, there are two steps up to the foyer, through a set of double swing doors. The Box Office, however, has level access through the first door on Shaftesbury Avenue. The Box office also has a lowered counter for easy wheelchair access. All of the stairs in the theatre have highlights and handrails on both sides. There are 3 steps down from the foyer to the Stalls, 30 steps up to the Dress Circle, 56 to the Upper Circle, 77 to the Balcony, which is very steep. The theatre opens 45 minutes before the performance.

For wheelchair and scooter users and for those who cannot manage stairs, there is an Accessible entrance through a side EXIT door on Shaftesbury Avenue. Please contact a member of staff at the front doors on arrival and someone will open this door for you. This entrance has One 3cm step into the theatre and a slight incline to the Stalls. A ramp can be placed over the 3cm step for you, simply ask the Access Assistant who opens the door. The stalls have 2 wheelchair spaces in W26 and W27 with companion seats too. Transfer seating is available to aisle seats within the stalls. A maximum of 4 wheelchairs and 1 scooter can be stored at the back of the stalls per performance.

There is an adapted WC near the Accessible entrance at the back of the stalls. There is an infra-red system operating in the auditorium and an induction loop in the Box Office. Headsets are available from the theatre foyer. If you cannot manage steps, please inform a member of staff who will bring a headset to you. Assistance dogs are allowed into the auditorium. Alternatively, staff can dog-sit during the performance. A maximum of 4 dogs are permitted into the theatre per performance.

There is no level access to a bar at The Palace. However, drinks can be brought to disabled patrons in the auditorium.

The next Signed Performance is on Thursday 21st June 2012.
The next Audio Described Performance is on Tuesday 11th September 2012.
The next Captioned Performance is on Thursday 13th September 2012.

To book discounted Access tickets to Singin' In The Rain, please call the Access booking line on 0844 412 4648.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Lion King & Lyceum Theatre

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

The Award Winning show Disney's The Lion King is in its 13th year at the Lyceum Theatre. Based on Disney's animated film by the same title and featuring music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and musical score by Hans Zimmer, the show has proved to be a hit in town!

"Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains to the evocative rhythms of Africa, this spectacular production explodes with glorious colours, stunning effects and enchanting music to tell the timeless story of Simba and his epic journey to fulfil his destiny as King of the Pridelands."

Performances are on Tuesday-Saturday evenings at 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Lyceum Theatre is located on Wellington Street, Covent Garden and just off The Strand making it central and near to transport links such as Charing Cross Station. If arriving in a wheelchair, please be aware that Covent Garden piazza is cobbled (although there is a paved walkway around most of the perimeter) and also dropped kerbs are lacking in some side streets. If you are arriving via The Strand, you should have no difficulty. If driving, there are 2 blue badge bays outside the theatre. There are also 3-4 blue badge bays opposite the Opera House. However, due to recent works in the area, these ones do seem to be closed on occasions so I can only advise that you ring Westminster Council before you travel to find out if they are in operation or not. There are also several other bays dotted around the Covent Garden area.

If you don't use a wheelchair or scooter and can manage some steps, the Lyceum's main entrance has 3 steps up to its Lower Foyer. From here, the nearest seating area is the stalls, a further 7 steps down from the Foyer. If you are a wheelchair or scooter user or cannot manage any steps, there is a level, accessible entrance through a double exit door to the left of the main entrance. There is a wheelchair sign by these doors and if you notify someone at the main entrance, someone will come and open these doors for you. I'd advise you to send your companion to ask at the main entrance as crowds tend to queue back past the accessible entrance and it can take a while to negotiate your way back through them.

Although there is lift access to all levels within the theatre, it isn't recommended that those with mobility and access needs book tickets in either of the circles - there are no designated wheelchair spaces in either circle and both require you to use steps once on those levels.

Within the stalls there are 6 wheelchair spaces in Row P and 3 in Row ZA. If you use a scooter or can transfer from your chair then any aisle seat in the stalls can be booked (subject to availability). There are also 2 adapted WCs by the accessible entrance to the stalls. The stalls bar is also accessible but, drinks can also be brought to those with access needs.

There is an Infra-red system in operation at the theatre that uses a mono receiver with neck induction loop. These are used in conjunction with a hearing aid which needs to be set to position T in order to pick up the signal. Assistance dogs are allowed into the auditorium. Alternatively, staff can dog sit throughout the performance.

- The next audio described performance of 'The Lion King' will take place on Saturday 21 July 2012 at 2.30pm, with a touch tour from 1pm in the Side Circle Bar.
- The next sign-interpreted performance of 'The Lion King' will take place on Saturday July 28th 2012 at 2.30pm.
- The next captioned performances of 'The Lion King' will take place on Sunday April 29th 2012 at 2.30pm and Friday September 7th 2012 at 7.30pm.

To book Access tickets or to discuss Access needs at the theatre, you can phone the Box Office directly on 020 7420 8113. The Box Office opening hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday and 12pm-3pm on Sundays. Concessions are given to those eligible to purchase Access tickets and to 1 companion.