Acorns Teams Up with Birmingham Hippodrome to Make Theatre More Accessible

Birmingham Hippodrome is working with Acorns to make its productions accessible to families who might otherwise miss out.

Acorns is working with the non-profit charity, whose revenues help fund Hippodrome Projects, to train its volunteers and visitor service assistants in preparation for days dedicated to Acorns service users, explaining the work of the hospice and giving an insight into the families who will be attending.

Nichole Cooper, Communications Executive for Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “We have learnt a lot about the different requirements of the children and aim to make our theatre as accessible as possible, even outside these family days.

“For example, during one visit it came to our attention that without a mobile access hoist, that was provided by the hospice, many families wouldn’t be able to attend our other relaxed performances.

“Word spread of the need for our own hoist and thanks to a generous donation from two of our regular supporters we were able to purchase one. It is available whenever it’s required to anyone with an access need.

“We go to great lengths to ensure our access programme is not just a box-ticking exercise, but one that offers memorable moments executed with sensitivity and flair.”

The Hippodrome has been working in partnership with Acorns for the past four years to deliver more accessible productions and workshops for our children and families.

The family days out see guests treated to relaxed performances of shows. For these special performances, the auditorium doors are kept open to allow free movement in and out of the space, with break-out areas close by. The break-out areas include a playroom and sensory room that provide a place for further relaxation and play during the show.

Certain aspects of staging are specially adapted to suit the needs of children cared for by Acorns, such as the bright lighting and loud noises. At the end of the show, members of the cast still in costume will visit the families for photographs.

The theatre has also run projects with siblings of children cared for by Acorns, offering them creative ways to express their thoughts and feelings.

To find out more about Acorns partnerships, please visit www.acorns.org.uk/partner-with-us