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Theatre accessibility

Find out about accessible facilities at top London theatres before booking your tickets.
Relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical. Photo: Alex Rumsford. Image courtesy of Corner Shop PR
Relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical. Photo: Alex Rumsford. Image courtesy of Corner Shop PR

Seeing a London theatre show is a must-do experience for all visitors to the capital, and many of the city’s theatres are adapted to help all audiences enjoy an incredible array of shows, plays and musicals.

Facilities include dedicated spaces for wheelchair users, hearing loop systems, and relaxed performances.

Disabled-access facilities

You can learn about the access facilities at many of London's major theatres with the extensive information held by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

This includes whether the venues are wheelchair friendly, information about adapted toilet and bar facilities, sound-amplification systems, admission policy on guide dogs, public transport, parking and concession theatre tickets. 


Download SOLT's venue access guide, which covers more than 60 major London theatres. 

DisabledGo is another useful resource for finding information on accessible entertainment venues in the city. It provides an online national guide to accessible buildings, venues and services. Their experts audit each business to collect comprehensive access information on entertainment venues in London.

Top 10 accessible theatres in London

From top musicals to child-friendly performances, there are lots of great places to catch a show in London. Check out some of the best accessible London theatres.

1. Shakespeare’s Globe

Enjoy Shakespeare in the sun at the iconic Bankside venue, which has level access to its auditorium and wheelchair spaces on two levels.

2. National Theatre

One of London’s more modern theatres, it has wheelchair spaces and sound-amplification systems in all three of its auditoriums.

3. Sadler’s Wells

The famous dance venue stretches over five floors, with a lift to each level that features both audible announcers and Braille markings.

4. Royal Court

You can listen to the Royal Court’s access guide podcasts to learn more about their access facilities, which include a wheelchair-friendly lift and regular access performances.

5. The O2

As a modern venue, The O2 was designed to be accessible for wheelchair users and can also arrange a BSL interpreter for your visit.

6. Her Majesty’s Theatre

The home of The Phantom of The Opera offers both an induction loop and infrared sound-amplification system.

7. Shaftesbury Theatre

Shaftesbury Theatre has level access from the street to the royal circle, where there are four wheelchair spaces.

8. Young Vic

Waterloo’s Young Vic regularly offers audio-described, captioned and relaxed performances of its productions.

9. Prince of Wales Theatre

The Prince of Wales Theatre has level access from the street through to the stalls, where there are three wheelchair spaces.

10. Harold Pinter Theatre

The home of many popular plays, the Harold Pinter Theatre has an infrared sound-amplification system and level access to the foyer and dress circle.

Please note that many of London’s historic theatres are listed buildings, which can sometimes make improvements in accessibility facilities at these venues challenging.

Assisted performances

SOLT also has information about the many assisted performances in London. This covers the audio-described, captioned, sign language-interpreted and relaxed performances that help to make theatre accessible to all.

For information on upcoming assisted performances, visit: OfficialLondonTheatre.com/Access

 

Alternatively, subscribe to Society of London Theatre’s free monthly email newsletter or quarterly brochure, which is available in Braille and MP3 format. You can also request a brochure by calling +44 (0)20 7557 6700 or emailing: enquiries@soltukt.co.uk

Audio-described theatre performances Assisted performances symbol - audio-described theatre

Listen to a live description of the on-stage action at an audio-described performance. Audio description is listened to on personal headsets, and covers the characters, their expressions and actions, costumes and the sets. It happens unobtrusively between the lines, offering audience members who cannot see the stage a chance to experience the visual aspects of the show.
 
You can also take a touch tour, which is sometimes available for people with visual impairments. These happen before a performance to give audience members the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the set.

Captioned theatre performances Assisted performances symbol - captioned theatre

Read along with the show at a captioned performance. These performances feature words displayed on an electronic screen at the same time as they are spoken or sung by an actor. This enables deaf and hard of hearing audience members to follow the dialogue and sound effects, in a process similar to subtitling.

British Sign Language-interpreted
theatre performances Assisted performances symbol - British Sign Language-interpreted theatre height=

Watch a British Sign Language (BSL) theatre interpreter sign the spoken and heard aspects of the show for deaf and hard of hearing theatregoers. The interpreter stands on the stage, discreetly but in a place clearly visible to the audience, during the performance.

Relaxed theatre performances Assisted performances symbol - relaxed theatre

Relaxed performances are specially designed for audience members with autistic spectrum conditions, learning disabilities and other conditions that might cause them to feel anxious about attending a show.

These are informal performances that usually mean lights are kept on, loud noises are removed and audience members can make noise during the show. There are also quiet areas for those needing to take a break, and additional information is often available before the performance.

Shows including Aladdin, The Lion King and Wicked have all previously staged relaxed performances, as well as venues such as the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Concession theatre tickets

Many theatres offer discounted tickets for audience members with access requirements, and carers can also often attend free of charge.

You can find more information about concession tickets by visiting the individual theatre’s websites.

 

For more accessibility information, take a look at our guide to accessible London, including top attractionsshops, hotels, and tours