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On Disability And Chronic Illness Inclusion In The Theatre Industry

pippa sat in box at royal albert hall, looking back towards the camera. pippa is in a formal pink dress and olivier awards stage is visible in background

Back in 2017, before my work began revolving more around chronic illness and lifestyle, I started this blog to share my theatre reviews. As a former dancer, theatre became one of very few ways I could still engage with the performance industry after my health declined… but as somebody with a chronic illness, attending shows even as an audience member was still full of challenges.

It was these experiences that made me begin writing ‘chronic illness-friendly’ theatre reviews. These posts would not only communicate my personal reflections on the show, but also discuss any implications of the venue or the production on my health condition. These posts drew in a huge community of individuals, people who also adored musical theatre but struggled with the impact this had on their own illnesses… and almost immediately, what I was doing began resonating with people. To date, one of my proudest achievements as a blogger is opening up that conversation so that like-minded people could connect and share not only their passions, but also their frustrations. For the first time, we were openly discussing barriers that are often much-less visible to those in the industry… and even to the wider disability community sometimes too.

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Wheelchair Accessible Sightseeing By Boat With City Cruises York [AD]

pippa sat on bench onboard boat that's out on the river, one hand on the rails and looking behind her. pippa is wearing a light pink denim jacket, blue jeans and white trainers.

[AD – Gifted Experience] Many thanks to City Cruises for having us aboard your York sightseeing tour! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Head to their website find out more about the tours and book your tickets!

I’ve lived in York for coming up to eight years now, and throughout that entire time I’ve had my eye on City Cruises. Every time I’m in the city centre and spot the jolly red boats cruising up and down the river, I push them higher up my mental bucket list… and I’m so glad to have finally been able to experience one of them for myself.

See, this is the thing. You may know that I live with a debilitating chronic illness, and when I’m out and about I generally use a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this means that I don’t always get to explore new places as much as I’d like to, and I can often end up feeling a little excluded from popular tourist experiences. Not this time, though. City Cruises had my back.

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