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New scheme encourages theatre productions offer free tickets to personal assistants

london's theatre land at night

Established theatre companies, such as Cameron Mackintosh, have come under fire for not offering complimentary tickets to personal assistants accompanying disabled people to shows.

A new pilot scheme, being launched next year, is encouraging productions to provide free admission for carers of disabled theatre-goers, a similar service which the music industry has abided to for years.

The All In initiative, supported by Arts Council England, will not make it compulsory for theatre companies to sign up, but those who do can register on the pilot website which went live yesterday, 7th November.

Andrew Miller, the UK’s Arts Champion, told BBC Radio 4’s Front Row the trouble he had booking a ticket for a West End show.

"The whole process took a week and about three hours of my time. If I was not disabled, I could have done it in five minutes."

Miller wants the scheme "to fundamentally improve the experience of D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people attending arts and cultural events across the UK through barrier removal, making it easier to book tickets and to offer consistency".

All In will make it easier and quicker to book accessible tickets as well as providing venues support and information on how they can make their buildings more inclusive.

The project, which is free to join, is a joint venture between Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Creative Scotland which will apply to museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, performing arts venues and festivals.

[ Cameron Mackintosh refused to use the furlough scheme in full during lockdown and his staff were informed of redundancies online. ]

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