Accessible Theatre Performances in Yorkshire – Festive Guide 2019

theatre programmes and tickets laid on floor, with green sunflower lanyard draped over the top

To me, there seems no more fitting time of the year to enjoy theatre than during the festive season. Whether you’re a regular theatregoer or not, there’s just something that feels so special about bringing your loved ones together, getting dressed up and perhaps going for a bite to eat, and then heading off to see a show.

And what’s crucial here is that theatre should be an experience that everybody gets to enjoy, including those with additional needs. We still have such a long way to go in helping regional theatres to become as inclusive as possible, but it’s incredibly heartwarming to see the progress that’s being made over time.

With that in mind, this year I’ve decided to compile a quick festive Access Guide of sorts, detailing inclusive performances for various productions in the leading theatres across Yorkshire, over the Christmas period. If you’re in the area and looking for some entertainment over the holidays, I hope the following information is helpful!

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York’s Wheelchair-Accessible Indie Coffee Shops and Cafes

pippa sat at table wearing jumper and looking down at tea cup in hands, with tea pot on table in front

If you’ve ever visited York, you’ll know it’s an absolute goldmine for cute and quirky independent businesses. You could visit a different indie coffee shop for breakfast every weekend, and in my former years as a student (prior to becoming a wheelchair-user), that’s pretty much what my friends and I did.

Fast forward a few years to the present day, however, and finding a local, wheelchair-accessible spot for a cuppa and a bite to eat when you’re out and about is infinitely more difficult, especially when you’re trying to stay away from chains of Starbucks and Costas and support local businesses and tourist attractions instead.

Sadly, there’s a real lack of accessibility awareness in York centre, especially for such a well-known touristy spot. Many organisations are quick to defend themselves with excuses of listed-buildings and historical accuracy, rather than liaising with disabled visitors and making a commitment to at least trying to improve their accessibility. And in my eyes, it’s a real shame.

That said, there are still a fair few lovely spots committed to welcoming disabled visitors, including the following…

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Accessible York – Encouraging Inclusive Tourism in North Yorkshire

pippa in power-chair, pointing to outdoor sign reading 'speed limit within this yard 15MPH' and laughing

Back in September 2013 when I moved to York for university, it’s safe to say my new friends and I fully made the most of all the city had to offer. As a non-disabled student at the time, there were no barriers holding us back from exploring the tourist attractions and thriving indie businesses that York is increasingly becoming well-known for… besides the pesky student budgets and the occasional hangover, of course.

However, part-way through my degree, chronic illness inconveniently invited itself into my life. And as I’m sure you can imagine, things have never since been the same. Whilst my health has declined over the last 5 years and I’ve become an ambulatory wheelchair user, my eyes have been well and truly opened to the unrelenting and often invisible obstacles that disabled and chronically ill people face in day-to-day life. And the tourism industry here in Yorkshire, wonderful as it is, is no exception to this.

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