Statement regarding accessibility at the Vaudeville Theatre
15th July, 2021
Statement from Nica Burns, Chief Executive.
“When we bought the Vaudeville I thought, ‘No problem, we can sort out disabled access’. It’s six steps to the auditorium. Just six steps which are the only accessible route in to or out of the auditorium. We have conducted a number of feasibility studies on solving these six steps and on installing an accessible loo but the particular dimensions and layout of the Vaudeville continue to be a challenge.
The reason why we can’t install stair lifts is that these 6 steps are the primary entrance and exit from the stalls and we have not found a stair lift which complies with our fire regulations. In May this year I thought we might solve it when I was sent a link for a specialist lift company in Ireland that turns steps into ramps. ‘This is it’ I thought. We explored, we investigated and again, because of the particular dimensions at the Vaudeville, it couldn’t work as again it fell foul of our fire regulations.
We’ve also put a lot of work into trying to find a place to install an accessible loo. Again, we’ve looked at numerous schemes but none of them worked. The Vaudeville front of house footprint is tiny and we simply don’t have the room.
So, we try very hard to make our bespoke access service as friendly and comfortable as possible. We provide a trained member of staff to discuss access requirements with each customer which is why we ask access customers to contact us via our access line. We tell people upfront that we escort access customers a short distance down the Strand to use the Adelphi accessible loo.
A new stairclimber is being tested which will take the weight of 400 kilos and enable greater access for our customers.
In the meantime, we will continue working on the Vaudeville challenges, checking new technology as it comes on stream and doing the best we can. The Vaudeville is a little gem of a playhouse and we’ve presented hundreds of brilliant shows to our audiences and welcomed many disabled customers.
Let’s be very clear, we do care. We do think about you. We respect you. From the bottom of my heart I wish we had better facilities for you. In the meantime, we will do our best to accommodate all of our customers’ needs and give you a very warm welcome.”