Stockton’s Georgian Theatre – run by Teesside music charity Tees Music Alliance (TMA) – has just been named as one of the UK’s 10 most accessible music venues.
A report by Rough Guides for UK disability charity, Motability, rates the venue amongst ten of the most accessible in the UK for people with a disability.
The report quotes leading disability led music charity – Attitude is Everything (AIE) – who celebrate an improving trend in facilities for disabled music fans.
From difficulties booking tickets to physically getting into venues and unexpected strobe lights, attending a gig can often seem like too much of a challenge disabled music fans. In its article however, Rough Guides pick a selection of the venues in the UK that go the extra mile, each checked in person by an AIE mystery shopper.
Regular attendee at The Georgian Theatre, Mandy Winter, commented;
“My daughter is autistic with severe learning disabilities and she loves The Georgian Theatre. We’ve been to all kinds of events and I no longer feel concerned when she is doing her quirky little things because I know that it’s a ‘safe’ place and most people are quite understanding of her.
We’re looking forward to Counterfest, we’ve been for the last couple of years and she loves hearing the bands playing music that is familiar to her. ”
This recognition is the latest chapter in TMA’s efforts to ensure that their buildings are accessible to all. In 2017, the organisation was awarded ‘Bronze’ status for The Georgian Theatre – as part of the Attitude is Everything Charter of Best Practice – a nationally accredited standard for music venues and festivals.
CEO Paul Burns explains;
“ We’re absolutely delighted to be named alongside some very high profile venues on this list – but it’s still unthinkable that in the 21 st Century, customers with a disability feel that they aren’t able to participate in one of society’s most accepted forms of entertainment – going to a gig with their mates.
Our approach isn’t about making a fuss over disabled music fans – it’s very basic, easy to fulfil stuff. If someone wants to attend an event and needs a chair because they can’t stand for long periods of time; we give them a chair. If they need a helper to get them around the building, we give them a free personal assistant ticket. If they want to stand in one of the quieter parts of the building away from the crowds, then we find them a less congested spot. No questions asked.
It’s a very direct approach; and people seem to appreciate it – often returning many times to see other events here. ”