Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Access London

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for helping to support Access for All to the Arts. Firstly, Merry Christmas to all the readers and supporters and here's to more changes and improvements to Access in 2013. 2012 has seen many positive changes and feedback from theatres and arts venues on Access. This includes the Royal Albert Hall who do have some serious issues to look at in terms of physical access as well as communication. However, they've made a positive start on it this year after many of the issues raised by Access London have been looked at and I thank you all for sending me stories of your experiences there. I am hopeful things will continue to improve in 2013. Other Arts venues continue to improve their already excellent Access lists and schemes including, Southbank Centre, The Barbican and The National and I hope that some of these ideas can one day be transferred to West End theatres/groups. Thank you once again to everyone who sends in feedback of theatres and venues you've visited and their Access, whether good or bad.
As passionate as I am about Access London and the issues it raises and fights for, I couldn't do it without the support of singers, actors and dancers who give their time and show support for what Access London aims to achieve. Below are Christmas messages from some who have been amazing with their support and I'd like to take this opportunity to again thank every single one of them, it really is much appreciated. To the readers, I hope you enjoy reading the messages as much as I did. Merry Christmas Everyone. x
Michael Xavier: "Sending lots of love and Christmas cheer to all those who support Access London. Thank you for your efforts and may 2013 be a lucky year for you all. x" Michael is currently playing Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! at the Leicester Curve until the 19th January 2013. To book tickets, see their website . You can follow Michael on Twitter @michaelxavierMX
Rebecca Caine: "One of my New Year resolutions is not to take anything for granted. The fact I am able to see any show I want is something I never thought about until I realised that many venues are not accessible to disabled people. Something that is so easy for me and gives me such joy should be accessible to everyone. Thankyou Claire for all your work in this area. And let's hope that 2013 sees more and more venues making sure that theatre is accessible to everyone." You can keep up to date with all of Rebecca's concerts for 2013 on her website . You can also follow her on Twitter @RebeccaCaine
Nick Wyschna: "Happy Christmas to all readers and supporters of Access London from all of us at Guildford Fringe Theatre Company. It's a pleasure to be associated with Claire and I pledge our support in any way we can in the coming years. Much love, Nick Wyschna." You can keep up to date with Guildford Fringe's shows and news by signing up to their newsletter HERE . Or check out their website . You can also follow Nick on Twitter @NickWyschna
AJ Callaghan: "Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Please spread the festive cheer and remember those less fortunate with a simple gesture of buying someone, cold and alone, a hot drink and a sandwich and don't forget our four legged friends by donating a can of food to an animal rescue centre. It's the small gestures that make Christmas special." AJ is currently in Les Miserables at Queens Theatre, London and covers the role of Fantine. Her next Fantine dates are the 11th and 12th January 2013. To book Access tickets for Les Miserables, call the Access line on 0844 482 5137. You can also follow AJ on Twitter @AJCallaghan1
Will Barratt: "Very Merry Christmas to all the readers of Access London. Thank you for enjoying and supporting the arts, as I fully support Access for All. x" Will was part of the cast of Sweeney Todd at The Adelphi this year. To keep up to date with his news and projects, follow him on Twitter @willbarratt83
Jo Loxton: "Wishing everyone at Access London a fantastic Christmas and wonderful new year and here's to more support for Accessible Theatre in 2013! Much Love xxx" Jo will be joining the cast of Dear World as it makes its UK Premiere at the Charing Cross Theatre from the 4th February 2013. For tickets, visit their website . You can also follow Jo on Twitter @Joloxton
Chris Jenkins: "Huge Season's Greetings to Claire and all her lovely readers. Eat, Drink and be Happy!" Chris is currently performing in Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre in London. To book Access tickets to see Spamalot, call the Access line on 0844 871 7677. You can follow Chris on Twitter @chrisjenko
Sofia Escobar: "Christmas is a magical time, a time for love, for family, for music and all round happiness! I wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and sparkles!" Sofia is currently playing Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera. To book Access tickets to Phantom, call the Access line on 08444 124648. You can also follow Sofia on Twitter @sofia_escobar
Lee Bowen: "Wishing everyone involved and all readers of Access London a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let's make 2013 an even bigger year for Access London, and push out the message that theatre is for everyone, and we all have the right to enjoy the rich variety of the arts." Lee will be playing Mr Upfold in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring during Britten's centenary year and celebrations in 2013 with Mid Wales Opera that will be touring to London. You can follow Lee on Twitter @LeeBowenTenor
John Owen-Jones: "To all at Access London....Nadolig Llawen! JOJ" For details of John's concerts in 2013, see his website HERE . John's newly released single 'May Each Day' can also be purchased from HERE . You can follow John on Twitter @johnowenjones
Danny Whitehead: "Dear readers of Access London, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that 2013 will bring health and happiness. I am a firm believer that Theatre and the arts play a vital role in our communities and that is why I am so passionate about performing and enjoy it so much. "The role of theatre in our society is difficult to define, for the theatre has almost an infinitive number of functions". Because of this, the importance of how accessible theatres, concert halls and arts venues are for absolutely everybody is extremely high. The fantastic work Access London do in highlighting this fact to theatres and venues is something that is particularly close to my heart as my mum and dad have worked and cared for adults and children with mental and physical disabilities for over twenty years. I have become very close to a lot of the people they work with and they have wanted to come and support me in many of the shows and concerts I have performed in, this has been getting easier to organise over the past year or so with venues improving their access and hospitality for all audience members. This improvement is down to the likes of Access London sharing information and bringing the issue of equal access to the theatre Management. I hope that 2013 is the year when all theatres realise how important it is to have Access for All! Have a fantastic Christmas!! Danny Whitehead xx" Danny was in the recent production of South Pacific that was at London's Barbican before touring the UK. To keep up to date with Danny's news and projects, follow him on Twitter @DannyWhitehead_
Victoria Farley: "As a professional actress, I understand the importance of supporting the arts, and I thank everyone who keeps this industry flourishing by their continued interest and support. I would like to believe that every person has the opportunity to participate in the rich culutural and artistic sector this country has to offer, regardless of any given disability. Earlier this year I was made aware of the Access London scheme and was shocked to realise how many London theatres/institutions are unable to accommodate certain disabilities. Learning about the scheme has given me the determination to help make a difference, and to encourage people to give some support to the people who support us. I would like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy some festive cheer and sparkly celebrations. I wish 2013 to bring love and support to this important scheme and equal opportunities for all. Lots of love and a big Christmas smile, Victoria x" Victoria played Rosa in The Mystery of Edwin Drood earlier this year at the Arts Theatre and is currently Wendy in Peter Pan at the Towngate Theatre. To book tickets, see their WEBSITE . You can follow Victoria on Twitter @victoria_farley
Richard Halton: "To all readers of Access London, Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2013! xx" Richard is a singer, both opera and musical theatre, and a vocal coach. To keep up with all of Richard's news and projects, see his website HERE . You can also follow him on Twitter @richiehalton
Simon Shorten: "Wishing all the readers of Access London an amazing Christmas and new year. Thank you all for your continued support. x" Simon is currently in Phantom of the Opera and is House Cover for The Phantom. To book Access tickets for Phantom, call the Access line on 08444 124648. You can keep up to date with Simon's news and projects for 2013 on his website HERE . You can also follow Simon on Twitter @SiShorten
Claire Cook: "Wishing all at Access London a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and exciting New Year! Best wishes to all, Claire xxx" Claire is currently Dance Captain for Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. You can follow Claire on Twitter @CookClaire
Paul Keating: "Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas & New Year. I hope you get to enjoy some time off! I'm making the most of life without the '8 show week' this year and intend to gorge myself, whilst relaxing with my family & friends. Thank you all for supporting London Theatre Access throughout 2012!" Paul played the Scarecrow in the recent production of the Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. To keep up to date with Paul's news, follow him on Twitter @1PaulKeating

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The National Theatre & The Magistrate

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for supporting Access for All to the Arts. London's Southbank is home to many arts venues including The National Theatre building which houses three theatres, The Olivier, The Lyttelton and The Cottesloe. With many productions running at the same time, there's always something different to watch at The National.
The Magistrate, a farce set in Victorian London, is currently playing at The Olivier... "With his louche air and a developed taste for smoking, gambling, port and women, it’s hard to believe Cis Farringdon is only fourteen. And that’s because he isn’t. Agatha his mother lopped five years from her true age and his when she married the amiable Posket. Well, when I heard the new dad was a police magistrate, I was scared. Said I to myself, “If I don’t mind my Ps and Qs, the Guv’nor – from force of habit – will fine me all my pocket-money.” The imminent arrival of Cis’ godfather sends Agatha incognito to the Hôtel des Princes to warn him of her deception. But it’s also where her son has cajoled his otherwise staid stepfather into joining him for a binge. High-spirited carousing leads to a police raid and a night of outrageous mishap as the trapped guests make desperate attempts to conceal themselves from the law and from each other. Indignities escalate at court the next day where Posket, the police magistrate, must preside."
With a cast that includes, John Lithgow, Nancy Carroll, Peter Polycarpou, Joshua Mcguire, Beverly Rudd, Sarah Ovens and Christina Cole, it's one not to miss. The Magistrate will also be broadcast Live via National Theatre Live to selected cinemas nationwide on January 17th 2013. Performances at The Olivier run until the 10th February 2013, please see the National Theatre's website for more details on dates and times of performances. National Theatre Access: All entrances have wide, glass swing doors. There are semi-automatic doors on either side of the main riverside entrance. There is also free parking available to blue badge holders in the underground car park (take your blue badge, theatre ticket and car park ticket to the information desk to receive your free exit ticket). Wheelchairs are also available to borrow at The National but please ring in advance to check availability and to book on 020 7452 3000. The backstage tours run at The National are fully accessible, please notify box office of any requirements when you book. Free cast lists are available in large print and braille from the front information desk. For those requiring audio-described performances, a free mailing list is available in large print, braille or CD format, please phone 020 7452 3238 to order your copy.
The National has an audio-described programme and touch tours for those with visual impairments and captioned performances for deaf or partially hearing patrons. There are also relaxed performances. Audio Described Performances for The Magistrate: Friday 4th January 2013 (7.30pm) and Saturday 5th January 2013 (2.00pm) with a touch tour at 12.30pm. Captioned Performances of The Magistrate: Thursday 10th January 2013 (7.30pm) and Tuesday 22nd January 2013 (7.30pm).
The Magistrate is playing in The Olivier Theatre. Access Information: To reach both the stalls and circle, use the lifts from either the foyer or underground car park. Stalls: 5 wheelchair spaces are available at the back of the stalls and the back row (R) is one small step up. All other seats are accessed via steps (25 down to the front). Please note that there is no handrail on the centre aisle (Level 2). Circle: Level access is available to Row G. There are 18 steps down to the front at Row A. The steps are steep but there are handrails (Level 3). Assistance dogs can be taken into the auditorium or front of house staff can look after them for you.
The National Theatre's Access List is free to join for those with a disability. You can print off, fill in and post the form from the website or fill it in online and email it to them. It enables you to describe the requirements you have. Once the form has been processed, you will be given a password for their online bookings or you can ring the box office for tickets on 020 7452 3000 and will be entitled to their concessionary rates on tickets. It's well worth the few minutes it takes to fill in the form!