Monday, 23 December 2013

Access for All in 2013 and Christmas Wishes

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You for your continued support for Access for All to the Arts. 2013 is drawing to a close and I've been thinking back over the past year to issues surrounding Access in our arts venues. There have been so many positive things happen, yet still so much needs to change before our venues really are Accessible to All. A charity who I follow on Twitter, called Stage Text, has been working tirelessly with theatres nationwide to bring captioned performances to the theatres. Many have yet to put on captioned performances but thanks to the hard work of charities like Stage Text, many more captioned performances are appearing. I will in fact be looking closer at captioned performances at the beginning of 2014. Theatres have continued to work on their physical Access, many now providing more dedicated wheelchair spaces and a larger option of seats for those transferring. Venues such as the Royal Albert Hall have improved dramatically on their communication and disability awareness in their box office...the physical Access options may still need work in this venue but staff now seem much more tuned in to the options available and which seats/spaces would be best for patrons with Access needs. Here's to many more continued improvements in 2014
And now...Christmas. I say this with some trepidation as I realise that, although for many, Christmas is an exciting, magical and special time of year...for many, it can be the complete opposite. I've had many messages over the last month or so from readers struggling with the time of year, some of you I'm told will be spending it in hospital, hospices or will have just left hospital. Others, may be suffering with the isolation that comes with certain disabilities. I want to thank you all for sending those messages, I know it's hard to reach out and although we all have our own situations, I just wanted to say that, I do understand and empathise with these feelings. Access London is very fortunate to have the support of many actors, singers and dancers and I am grateful to each and every one of them. I've put together a few messages that some of them have kindly sent me to show you all that the support for Access issues is there and it's there in spades. There may be venues that aren't playing ball right now with their Access policies but we mustn't feel defeated and instead fight on, especially with such fantastic support behind us. On a personal note, I want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to EVERYONE who contributed to this post and to those who continue to support Access for All, it really does make all the difference. See you in 2014!
Michael Xavier: "Sending all who follow Access London my very best wishes for a lovely Christmas and a very happy new year. It means the world to me that everyone gets the opportunity to experience not only theatre, but all forms of entertainment, as equals. Thank you Access London. x" Michael has recently announced that he has been cast as Sid Sorokin in Chichester Festival Theatre's West End transfer of The Pajama Game, previews starting from 1st May 2014 at the Shaftesbury Theatre. To keep up to date with all his news, you can follow Michael on Twitter @michaelxavierUK
Sofia Escobar: "I'd like to wish all readers of Access London a wonderful and magical Christmas! May you all have a beautiful day, surrounded by loved ones. After all, nothing is more important than sharing life with the people we love. Merry Christmas and may 2014 bring you all you wish for. Sofia x" Sofia recently finished her run as Christine at Phantom of the Opera after playing the role for 3 years. You can keep up to date with all of Sofia's news by following her on Twitter @sofia_escobar
Scott Davies: "Dear All, On behalf of myself and everyone at Phantom of the Opera, we wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and lots of love for 2014. Scott Davies xx" Scott is currently contracted as Standby Phantom at Phantom of the Opera.
Joanna Loxton: "Wishing everyone at Access London a wonderful Christmas and a bright and prosperous new year. Thanks for the amazing work you are doing, it makes a real difference to those who need it! Much love to all. Jo xx" Jo was in the cast of Dear World, at the Charing Cross Theatre, earlier this year. To keep up to date with all of her news, follow her on Twitter @Joloxton
Chris Jenkins: "Merry Christmas and a happy new year to Claire and all her Access for All readers. Here's to another year of great theatre for Everyone." Chris is currently in Spamalot at The Playhouse theatre. You can keep up to date with all his news on his website . Or on his Twitter account @chrisjenko
Richard Halton: "To you, the loyal readership of Access for All, I extend my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy, healthy and prosperous new year" Richard is a singer and vocal coach, working with many great West End singers. You can keep up to date with all of his news via his Twitter @richiehalton
Claire Cook: "Wishing all readers of Access London much love for the festive season and best wishes for a happy new year! x" Claire is the Dance Captain at the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. To keep up to date with all of Claire's news, you can follow her on Twitter @CookClaire
Danny Whitehead: "Ever since I heard about 'Access for All' I have been a huge admirer and supporter of its aims, objectives and of the fantastic work they do. It's such an important issue that's very close to my heart, and after the recent traumatic events at London's Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, it highlights even more the need for investment to maintain the up keep of all theatres and arts venues, and to make sure they are accessible and safe for everyone to enjoy. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!!!" Danny is currently in Jack and the Beanstalk at The Broadway Theatre in Barking. You can keep up to date with all his news by following him on Twitter @DannyWhitehead_
Nicola Foxfield: "The show is always for the audience and that means their needs come first. I'm very fortunate this year in that the venue I'm performing in over the Christmas period is a very inclusive theatre (London theatres take note!) and we have groups with a variety of disabilities attending nearly every show, which quite frankly is the way it should be! I couldn't imagine not being able to see any show I wanted, so hats off to Claire and all who are working hard to help make London's theatres accessible to all. Merry Christmas everyone and here's to a wonderful new year!" Nicola is currently playing 'Dick' in Dick Wittington at the Bedworth Civic Hall, Warwickshire and will be in As You Like It at Barons Court, from January. You can keep up to date with her news via her website . Or follow her on Twitter @NicolaFoxfield
Kevin Leslie: "Merry Christmas to one and all, Hope you have an amazing festive holiday, filled with laughter, joy and merriment. I'm proud and honoured to be asked to extend my support for access for London. I believe theatre should be accessible to everyone whatever the obstacle, so it brings a smile to my face when I see people making this possible. The work is made to be enjoyed by All, so enjoyed by ALL it shall be. Hope to hear about many enjoyable theatre trips in 2014. Happy Holidays. Kevin Leslie x" Kevin was in the great production of Blue Stockings, at The Globe this Summer. His next feature film, is a mystery horror, called 'Disturbed'. He will also be touring UK theatres with the English Touring Theatre in Eternal Love, you can check out this website for dates HERE . Keep up to date with all Kevin's news by following him on Twitter @KevinLeslie88
Jonathon Gibson: "Merry Christmas to all readers and supporters of Access London. Theatre means everything to me. It brings me so much enjoyment, whether I'm on the stage or in the audience. Everyone should have the right and ability to experience the magic of theatre and I strongly support the work of Access London. I wish you all a fantastic festive season and here's to a happy and healthy 2014. Much love, Jonathon xxx" Jonathon is currently appearing in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Assembly Rooms in Derby, until 5th January. To keep up to date with all of his news, check out his website . You can also follow him on Twitter @JonGibsonActor
Cameron Jack: "Happy Christmas to all at Access London! Keep up the good work there. It's important that there are organisations like Access, making a difference all year round. Cameron Jack x" Cameron is an actor and director and has made many television performances this year and was also in the feature film, Wandering Rose. His theatre performances this year include The Life Of Stuff. He has also directed productions at the Broadway Theatre in Catford. You can keep up to date with his news by following him on Twitter @rentathug
Dan and Laura Curtis: "We would like to wish all the readers of Access London a Christmas full of love and happiness. Access in the Arts is so very important and what you do makes such a big difference to people's lives. From working in a theatre for many years, I have seen significant changes for the better but so much more can be done. Thank you for everything you are doing and all the very best for 2014." Dan and Laura are award winning composers. Among their many current and future projects, includes the Richard Burton Musical. You can keep up to date with all their news via their website . You can also follow them on Twitter @DanLauraCurtis

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