Box Office: 01902 321 321

Accesible Information

The Arena Theatre prides itself on being at the forefront of accessible theatre and technology.

Below is a list of what we offer in terms of our access provision and equipment, and also how you can book onto this provision and book out this equipment.

Performances available

Audio Description at the Arena Theatre

Audio Description is a means of making the arts accessible through words to blind and partially sighted people.

Audio Described performances give blind and partially sighted people a live commentary about the action happening on the stage through a headset or electronic device.

Often the audio description is made up of three essential elements: a description of the set, costumes and characters. These are normally part of the “introductory notes” which take place around 10 minutes before the show.

The second step in the experience is a touch tour, which normally takes place around half an hour before the show and lasts for around 15-20 minutes. A Touch Tour allows blind or partially sighted people an opportunity to explore the set and props, to gain a clearer picture of the show.

The final step is the descriptions of the visual elements of the performance. The actions, reactions, location changes, and any visual effects (lighting, smoke, dry ice). This happens live, as the performance happens. Some Audio description is pre-recorded, but this is a rarity.

Audio description is a great way for blind or partially sighted people to experience the theatre.

The Arena Theatre work with Vocaleyes and MindsEye to deliver Audio description.

The Arena Theatre has three options for you to experience Audio description.

  • Use our inferred system with an earing loop (An older system)
  • Radio system, using the Halo headset.
  • Sennheiser’s Mobile connect, which can be used with any smart device and headphones.

We recommend that all Audio Description equipment be pre-booked at the Box Office, when you book your ticket.

British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting at the Arena Theatre

BSL or sined performances are aimed at D/deaf and hearing-impaired people who want to experience theatre.

Signed performances give D/deaf and hearing-impaired people a live interpretation of the words spoken on stage by the actor(s).

A trained BSL interpreter - usually standing to one side of the stage and clearly lit - interprets the words and language used by the performers at the same time it is being performed.

We recommend our D/deaf and Hearing-impaired patrons sit a little closer to the stage to get a good view of the interpreter. Please ensure you tell the box office you are booking to use the interpreter and they will seat you appropriately.

Integrated BSL at the Arena Theatre

Integrated BSL performances are aimed at D/daf and Hearing-Impaired people who want to experience live theatre.

Integrated BSL is when the BSL is executed by the actors on stage. There is no interpreter at the side, and instead one or all of the actors on stage sign as they perform.

The language is a part of the show. In the same way as the spoken word, or the movement, it is often developed from the start of the creative process and plays an integral part of the show.

Captioning at the Arena Theatre

Captioning is aimed at D/deaf, Hearing-impaired and anyone who needs extra support with spoken word.

Captioning translates spoken word into text. This text is often projected on to a screen at the back or side of the stage, or screens will be mounted or fitted around the stage area. The words appear on those screens at the same time as they are sung or spoken.

Captioning can also be used on personal devices, if using specific equipment or if you have certain apps downloaded.

To caption a live show, a trained captioner or technician will edit a script into a captioning programme on a computer. Once a script is converted, the Captioner or technician will make notes on a personal script, which allows them time to edit and create a list of cues (a cue is a word, or physical change, that indicates when the next instruction, should happen) When captioning a live show, a technician will control the timings of each caption, they will press a button on the computer to make the words appear on screen as the actor is saying them.

Captioning is a great for anyone who finds it difficult to hear the actors speaking, needs to see people’s faces to follow a conversation, struggles with certain voices, accents or styles of speaking or speaks a completely different language.

Captions may also be useful to people who are studying classic texts or want to improve their English.

Relaxed Performances at the Arena Theatre

A relaxed performance is a means of making the arts more accessible to those with autism, sensory or communicational needs. They are also useful to parents with babies and anyone else who prefers a more peaceful and laid back theatre environment.

Relaxed performances are exactly what they say, it is the same performance, with less volume, more lights, and no sudden changes. Relaxed performances are carefully adjusted to reduce anxiety and stress for those who might find the experience unsettling or difficult.

In a relaxed performance, the audience benefit from a more relaxed environment. Changes are made to sound and lighting to eliminate surprise and soften their impact. Moving around the auditorium during the performance and noise, is welcomed during a relaxed performance. The idea is that everyone can express themselves however they choose.

Audience members are always free to come in and out of the performances as they please and also have the option to go to a quiet space if they would like to. 

Relaxed performances help to remove barriers, so that everyone can experience the enjoyment and magic of theatre. Relaxed theatre is about making the theatre welcoming and inclusive for all. 

Dementia Friendly Performances at the Arena Theatre

Dementia friendly performances are a means of making the arts more accessible to those living with dementia, or those in the early stages of onset dementia.

Dementia friendly performances are very similar to relaxed performances, they are tailored for people with dementia and their families or carers but can be enjoyed by everyone.

Like relaxed performances, dementia friendly performances avoid using performance elements that might shock, startle or unnerve anyone in the audience. The main theatre lights often remain on low, loud noises and music will play at a lower volume and flashing or bright theatre lights will be reduced. There is also a quiet space for people, to go to, if they are feeling overwhelmed.

Clear signs and information are up in and around the theatre to help people identify where they are, when they are, and offer a comfortable and supportive environment.

Equipment to borrow at the Arena Theatre

At the Arena Theatre we think it is important that everyone can enjoy theatre, and access everything that theatre has to offer.

In our bid to make sure that everyone can enjoy theatre we offer a range of equipment that might make your time with us a little more comfortable.

Below is a list of equipment that might assist you.

Audio Description Equipment

  • iPod Touch (please pre-book with the Box Office)
  • Headphones
  • Sennheiser infrared Enhanced Hearing Loop
  • Halo Headsets.

Parents, Babies and Children

  • Ear defenders (6 months +)
  • Booster seats

Autism Friendly Bag

We currently only have one Autism friendly bag available. The bag contains:

  • Sand timers
  • Ear defenders
  • Fidget toys
  • Visual guides
  • Sunglasses

If you would like to borrow any of the equipment, please speak to the Box Office, at your earliest convenience.

If you have a requirement that we currently don’t cater for please contact