3 June 2024

What does accessibility mean to us?

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At Fareham Live, we believe that accessibility is for everyone, and know that our approach to the daily workings of our building and the performances we host can make a significant impact on each visitor's experience. People attend the theatre for various reasons: some seek a few hours away from the everyday world, others enjoy catching up with friends, and many come to learn something new. With this diversity in mind, how can we ensure that our guests living with disabilities have equally positive experiences?

Preparing Your Visit

As a venue, it’s vital that we understand the physical, sensory, and social barriers many people living with disabilities may face when visiting our venue, and how we have strived to accommodate these. The UK is blessed to have a number of beautiful older buildings that are not only a visual delight but are jam-packed with history. Unfortunately, the flip side to this is that many have accessibility issues such as the lack of wheelchair ramps, elevators, or accessible seating areas. Restrooms can also prove a tricky one, with many not having the space or facilities that can be adapted for wheelchair users or those with other physical disabilities. So as a new theatre, what could we do to improve this?

On Arrival

As a new building, we have ensured that Fareham Live has been designed to be fully wheelchair accessible, both backstage and front of house. In our location on Osborn Road, our guests who use a wheelchair can access the building from both the town centre entrance and the entrance from the car park. Oh, and before we forget, there are three pay-and-display car parks immediately behind and adjacent to the venue, with several parking spaces allocated to Blue Badge holders. Accessible from Osborn Road, our entrance has automatic doors and leads directly to the main foyer, which is all on one level. If you are looking to buy tickets from the Box Office, you can find our team located immediately in front of the main doors. As with all of our service points, the welcome desk has a wheelchair-accessible section. There’s also a customer lift in the foyer to reach the upper levels of the theatre as well as wheelchair-accessible lavatories which can be found on all levels. There is also a Changing Places Toilet – a fully accessible space which includes a height-adjustable changing bench, an overhead track or mobile hoist; a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and enough space for up to two carers.

In the Auditorium

We are proud to offer eight wheelchair spaces in the stalls and one in the circle. Don’t forget, essential companions accompanying patrons in wheelchairs will receive a complimentary ticket (verification may be required). Simply book by phone or in person.

Sensory Accessibility

Our guests with sensory impairments, such as those who are visually or auditorily impaired, may find theatre experiences challenging. Fortunately, more venues are taking into account the thousands of people who enjoy going to the theatre, and Fareham Live is certainly one of them. Both the main hall and Studio One are equipped with a Sennheiser infra-red system. This state-of-the-art technology uses an invisible infrared light to connect the sound source and the listener. There are eight headsets available from the cloakroom, so please let us know if you require one. Our guests will also be pleased to know that we allow Guide and Hearing Dogs in all of our spaces. We love welcoming your service animals to our theatre, so please let us know when booking and we’ll ensure that a complimentary adjacent seat will be reserved for your four-legged friend.

BSL and Relaxed Performances

As we begin to expand our diverse schedule of shows, we aim to increase the number of access-specific performances, including those that are relaxed and BSL-interpreted. Many of our guests who have neurodivergence, such as Autism, require a calmer environment, which we incorporate into our special performance days. Beyond modifying sensory inputs, we also allow behaviours that may not typically be accepted in a standard performance, such as moving around, speaking, or using electronic devices. On these relaxed days, it’s hugely important for our guests to feel safe, secure, and enjoy the show. Theatre is for everyone, after all!


You may come across some of our relaxed performances that provide “visual stories” or detailed guides which help our audience know what to expect during a visit. This can help prepare our guests by allowing them to know more about the plot, what to expect, and the layout of the theatre, which can greatly help to reduce anxiety about new or overwhelming experiences.

Quiet Spaces

If you or your companion feel overwhelmed during a performance, rest assured that we can offer you a designated quiet space for you to relax in until you are ready to rejoin the performance. Please ask a member of staff if you require a break and they will be happy to help.

Photosensitivity and Respiratory Conditions

For any performance containing strobe lighting, flashing lights, pyrotechnics, haze/smoke, and/or loud bangs/explosions, a notice will be displayed in all public areas and on the doors of the space you are in. Our Ushers and House Managers will also be aware of this content. However, if his is likely to concern you or your party's members, please consult with a duty manager upon arrival. We also have a number of sets of ear defenders available from our ticketing desk, and will display notices prior to any performances containing strobe lighting, flashing lights, pyrotechnics, haze/smoke, and/or loud bangs/explosions.

Together, making theatre accessible

At Fareham Live, we are continuously working towards making theatre a space where everyone can feel welcomed and safe. We understand that access can mean so much more than ramps and lifts. It is about representation and respect as much as anything else, and recognising that barriers to access can be logistical, physical, cultural, financial, and more. Through our access team, who help shape and drive the access offer for the building, and ongoing training of staff and partnerships with organisations such as Attitude is Everything, we can ensure that we are at the forefront of access in the live entertainment industry. We invite you all to keep the conversation going, and share with us your experiences and feedback so we can continue to learn and improve and ensure that our theatre remains inclusive for all. Please contact [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.