I attend the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham with my godmother and her daughter, to see the stage production of Friends the Musical Parody.
The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham is quite an old building and there are various steps up to the main entrance. The different queues outside made it slightly confusing as to where the entrance was and how to get in. This also made the navigation through the queue more complicated closer to showtime as there were thin, unstable pavements outside.
For visitors with disabilities, you need to go around the building to one of the side entrances with flat access. The staff members need to open the side entrance door meaning they need to be aware of your presence. The only way to let them know this is by speaking to one of the staff members. What happens if one of them isn’t managing the main door? You can’t go inside and tell them you’re here because of inaccessibility!
Outside the main theatre but just inside the side entrance was a standard-sized disabled toilet that looked so small. This annoyed me. Firstly, the toilet doesn’t accommodate many of those with disabilities as it did not have a hoist. Secondly, there is a risk of it not being suitable for those visitors who can use it.
The staff members at the Alexandra Theatre were nice and approachable, helping us to seats, and regularly checking on us before during the interval and after the production. I felt it was really personable and was quite impressed by their approach at such a busy time.
I was sitting with my godmother and her daughter, and I must admit I felt the position of our seats was a little bit awkward. The disabled seat was just placed at the end of the row without many indications that the seat was there. I was comfy enough and I had a good view of the stage while still being able to talk to my family. However, there would have been issues if there were multiple disabled visitors in one production. Although, I may not have seen the entire picture and layout of the theatre. I was also placed quite near to the speakers so this made parts of the production even louder which I found a little bit odd, but I could overlook it.
Overall, I was impressed by the theatre considering it’s an old one and the staging itself it’s quite new which gives the Birmingham Hippodrome play a run for its money. The production of Friends the Parody was impressive, and I had a great view of the stage.