Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Accessible Arts & Culture

Has one of your New Year's resolutions been to include more culture in your 2014?

We’ve put together a guide on a few things that might interest you in the coming year. We’ll start off with the Sydney Festival which gets underway in just a couple days’ time.

Sydney Festival

Sydney Festival supports the Companion Card program and will issue a second ticket at no cost to a Companion Card cardholder. Please contact Sydney Festival directly to assist with your booking on 02 8248 6500 or email access@sydneyfestival.org.au.

Most of the venues for Sydney Festival performances are accessible for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility. There’s lots of free events too. Double check the venues via the Sydney Festival website.

Festival in the Domain
For performances in the Domain, limited parking spaces will be available for Mobility Parking Scheme Permit Holders and must be booked before the event on 02 8006 5700. An accessible viewing area for patrons with disability is located on the eastern side of The Domain between Tower 6 and 7.

On Tuesday 14 January and Tuesday 22 January between 9am-10am there will be a Baby Bounce and Accessibility session. These sessions are for parents with young children that can't yet stand independently and people with a disability and their companions.

(Bounce enthusiasts with young children or access requirements will also be catered for every day Sacrilege is open. If you can't make the Baby Bounce and Accessibility session feel free to visit at any time and make yourself known to the Audience Marshall and arrangements will be made to facilitate access).
Please note that Sydney Festival staff are unable to provide mobility or other types of physical assistance. If you need assistance please bring a support person with you.

The following performances in the 2014 Festival will be audio described:

Black Diggers
Audio described performance: January 26 at 5pm, with a tactile tour at 3pm. Bookings essential.

Dido & Aeneas  Audio described performance: January 19 at 5pm, with a combined tactile tour and audio description at 3pm (please note that the performance itself will also now be audio described). Bookings essential. Pre-show notes, libretto and synopsis will be sent out 48 hours prior to the performance. Please advise if you would like to make use of this service when booking your tickets so that you can be allocated a seat with a good view of the captioning screens.

The following Sydney Festival performances in 2014 will be captioned:

Bullet Catch Monday January 20 at 7.30pm

Surtitled Performances - A number of foreign language performances will also be fully surtitled (the translation of dialogue only onto a screen above the stage):

His Music Burns
, Carriageworks Bay 17, performed in English and French with English surtitles

Lao Qiang
, Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, performed in Shaanxi dialect with Chinese and English surtitles.

La Voix Humaine
, Carriageworks Bay 17, performed in Dutch with English surtitles

The Turk in Italy
, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, performed in Italian with English surtitles

For further information and to find out what else is on visit www.sydneyfestival.org.au

Opera House

The Sydney Opera House features accessible theatres for wheelchair users and the Companion Card is accepted for all performances at Sydney Opera House. The Opera House has a number of its performances throughout the year accompanied by audio description, open captions, and Auslan interpretation. 

They also feature throughout the year Accessible Performance for Kids. This includes audio description and Autism friendly performance.

The Autism friendly performances are provided in a supportive and non-judgemental environment with slight modifications to sound and lighting, downloadable pre-visit social story, support aids (including fidget toys, weighted lap pads, textured mats) an open door policy and quiet areas set up in the foyer.

The following shows have accessibility options available.

Live  Captioned: Wed 23 Apr 11am
Audio-Described Performance: Fri 2 May 6.30pm & Sat 3 May 1pm
Note: The captions screens are visible from selected seats for this performance. When booking please ensure that you request ‘Caption Seats’.

Aston’s Stones
Sensory/Autism-friendly performance: Sat 14 Jun, 11am

The Magic Chicken
Suitable for audiences with hearing impairment: 9 – 13 July, 11am & 1.30pm

Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead
Suitable for audiences with sight impairment: Sat 9 August, 12.30pm & 3pm

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly
Audio-described performance: Sat 16 Aug 11am

And for the grown-ups there are accessible options available for other performances at the Sydney Opera House.

Surtitles in English are projected above the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage for most opera productions. Additional surtitle screens have been installed at the front of the venue so that they may be read from the wheelchair seating area and nearby seats.  This view is available from Row D, Seats 14 & 36 outwards, Row E seats 14 and 36 outwards, and from the entire row in Rows F and G. 

Some seats in the venue are not able to view the surtitles so please advise Box Office of your requirements when booking tickets.

The Opera House also features a FM Radio system to assist with hearing. Receivers and headsets are available from cloakrooms prior to the performance.

This FM radio system is also compatible with hearing aids via an induction loop. 

Throughout the year, certain productions will also have Auslan interpretation. Check the Opera House website for more details.

Belvoir Theatre

The Belvoir Theatre in Surry Hills is fully accessible for wheelchair users and accepts the Companion Card. 

For each of the Belvoir’s productions, they present one free performance for unwaged audiences. Unwaged performances are usually on a Thursday at 2pm. To claim your ticket visit the Belvoir Box Office in person from 12 noon on the day of the performance and present a Pensioner, Health Care or Veterans’ Affairs Card.

During the year certain Belvoir productions will be accompanied by audio description and captions. 

There is also a hearing loop in both theatres which can be accessed via the t-switch on hearing aids.

For further information visit the Belvoir‘s website.

Sydney Theatre Company

The Wharf Theatres, Sydney Theatres, and Drama Theatre (at Sydney Opera House) are all wheelchair accessible as well as accepting the Companion Card.

Sydney Theatre in conjunction with STC present audio-described performances of specific productions throughout the year for people who are vision impaired. Some of these performances include a workshop and tour of the set prior to the performance, to enable the vision impaired patrons to familiarise themselves with the physical aspects of the production - including the shape of the cast!

In addition, up to three productions per year are professionally signed (AUSLAN Interpreted) on stage for the hearing impaired. These services are offered with specially reduced ticket prices to encourage greater access.

2014 Season audio-described performances include: The Long Way Home, Noises Off, Pinocchio, Macbeth, Children of the Sun, Switzerland and Cyrano de Bergerac.

2014 Season Auslan interpreted performances include: Macbeth, Children of the Sun and Switzerland.

2014 Season captioned performances include: The Long Way Home, Noises Off, Pinocchio, Macbeth, Children of the Sun, Switzerland and Cyrano de Bergerac.

Hearing enhancement systems are available in all theatres. The Infrared System (available at the Drama Theatre) caters for those without hearing aids by using a headset available from the theatre's Front of House staff. The Induction Loop system (available in Wharf 1 Theatre, Sydney Theatre and Drama Theatre) caters for those with newer hearing aids or hearing aids with T switches. As some seats may be 'out of range' STC ask that you let them know your needs on your Booking Form.

For further information visit Sydney Theatre Company's website.

Riverside Theatre – Parramatta

The Riverside Theatre features wheelchair access to all venues within the complex as well as accepting the Companion Card. 

Hearing assistance via a hearing loop and earpiece / receiver is available in all 3 theatres. You can pre book this service, which is recommended as there are a limited number of units available. 

Audio description for certain performances is also available throughout the year. 

For further information visit www.riversideparramatta.com.au

Casula Powerhouse

The Centre is fully wheelchair accessible, including toilet facilities and a lift to all floors. There is also a hearing loop in the theatre. Throughout the year the Powerhouse provide many workshops and tours for people with a disability and have recently started introducing Auslan interpretation to selected theatre productions.

Casula Powerhouse runs bi-monthly art classes for people living with mild to moderate physical and intellectual disabilities. Classes are $5 per participant, carers are free.

For more information visit the Powerhouse website.

The Concourse - Chatswood

The Concourse is one of Sydney's newest arts venues, opening in September 2011. It is wheelchair accessible within all venues and stages, service desks and back-of-house facilities. There is an Assisted Listening System which is offered in the Theatre, concert Hall, foyer and bar areas. 

For further information visit The Concourse website.

OpenMi Tours

As well as the above venues featuring accessibility options, we thought we’d mention a great smart phone app that has been developed to provide audio tours in captions, and Auslan as well as audio in English.

Currently the list of venues that have supported the app through their exhibitions include:

For further information on OpenMi Tours visit the developer's website here.

This is by no way an exhaustive list of everything that's available, but we hope it gets you thinking about getting out and enjoying some of what's on offer!


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