1. Train all staff in Disability Equality (from a disabled person), and at least your front of house staff and those who manage them in Deaf Awareness Training (the training team must include a Deaf person). Ensure this is a rolling programme so as to catch new staff and keep everyone updated.
2. Put access and inclusion as a standing item on agendas at every level and across your organisation. If there’s nothing to report, move on, but it will prompt you to ensure that it’s being considered in all areas of your work.
3. Convene a user group of D/deaf and disabled people; be clear about what their remit is and how much influence they have; and listen to them; also consider how they will be remunerated.
4. Ensure your recruitment practices have a wide reach and state explicitly that you want applications from D/deaf and disabled applicants (including accepting applications in a variety of formats); if you are requesting information about disability status for monitoring purposes, ensure you also explain why you want it and what you will do with the information.
5. Devise a coherent and easy to implement policy on concessionary ticket pricing - (which should never ask customers for proof of medical conditions).
6. Ensure your website meets at least basic accessibility standards.
7. Make booking tickets as straightforward as possible, even where someone has access requirements; ideally make this possible on-line just as with any other tickets, and ensure that box office staff are confident to give information and ask questions appropriately (your Disability Equality Training will really help here).
8. It is crucial to ensure that staff have the information they need to provide an appropriate service; ensure that information around, for example, booking Sign Language Interpreters, does not sit with just one person.
9. When in doubt, just ask and always remember that the person in front of you is just that - a person; ask yourself, what would you do if this was a non-disabled person? Nine times out of ten, that’s also the best course of action in this case.
10. Just do it. Don't wait until you think you’ve got everything right, or until you feel you know everything you need to know: take risks, embrace the mistakes, and be open to learning.
Michèle is the trainer for UK Theatre's new Access modular course. Start with the foundation day on 15 June and build your knowledge with 4 additional modules covering communications to buildings. Find out more here.