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Are Theatres Accessible for Kids?

16 June 2023

Going to theatres is a non-negotiable activity for kids at least once in their lives. London alone hosts 230 of the world’s top theatres, and it would be a wasted opportunity not to try them out. The problem is, theatres are not always the most accessible to children with additional needs due to the historical nature of their buildings and the focus on dramatic performances.

But don’t worry, as we will be going over some theatres that are accessible for kids, as well as those with special needs. If you don’t live close to these theatres, contact your local theatre and see what they can offer.

Prince Edward Theatre

Located on Old Compton Street, London, this theatre is one you’re going to have a blast at. It is home to some of the world’s greatest plays for kids, such as Aladdin from Disney, and one of the most renowned musicals of all time: Mary Poppins. The Prince Edward theatre is very organised and is highly accessible for your little ones. They also have a reliable website, where you can see the schedule of the shows, book your tickets, and prepare for the big day. Upon arrival, one of the theatre’s many trained staff will guide you if you have any accessibility issues.

For those of you with family members that have additional needs, the Prince Edward Theatre is an excellent option. This theatre is autism-friendly and will cater to sensory disabilities by offering signed language performances, audio descriptions, and captioned performances.

Sadler’s Wells

Located in Rosebery Avenue, London, this theatre is the place to be if you want to see the best dance performers in the world. If you can, make sure you book a ticket online rather than at the door - it’s likely to be much cheaper and easier to find the most accessible seats. 

You might want to go early to enjoy the pre-show atmosphere, where you can enjoy the theatre itself, maybe have snacks and drinks, take aesthetic photos, and have enough time to find your seats. 

Children with additional needs can have a great time here and are sure to enjoy the experience. Saddler’s Wells has ‘touch tours’ where a trained member of staff will guide and take you around the theatre, all the way backstage, and describe the things you touch. They also have sign language performances and even ‘relaxed’ performances which cater to those who are on the autistic spectrum.

This theatre’s dedication to catering to anyone and everyone is a lovely touch to an already impressive show.

Royal Opera House

With videos of their performances going viral on YouTube, visiting the prestigious Royal Opera House is the theatre connoisseur's dream. This theatre is not just for hardcore theatre fans, but kids and first-timers are sure to have a memorable experience. Located in Covent Garden, it’s clear this theatre is a must-visit for the whole family. They have dedicated family tours, where one of their staff will tour the entire family around this historic theatre. 

For people with disabilities, they have touch tours, signed language shows, and captioned shows. The Royal Opera House has gone even further and has taken extra steps to customise the structure of the building and lifts. The purpose of the customised theatre is to make sure those with disabilities can move around the theatre with relative ease.

While not all theatres are accessible for kids and those with special needs, there are a few gems you can visit for a full theatre experience with the ones you love. If you have the opportunity, we highly suggest you try these theatres out. You won’t regret it!

Photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

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