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Access Leeds Theatre posted 29 Nov 2017

Access Leeds Theatre


Making Theatre Accessible this Christmas


  • Six Leeds-based major arts organisations are offering a dazzling selection of accessible festive productions, including signed, audio described, relaxed, captioned and dementia friendly performances
  • Access Leeds Theatre is a partnership between Carriageworks Theatre, City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds Grand Theatre, Northern Ballet, Opera North and West Yorkshire Playhouse
  • We are proud to be the first regional collective working together to improve access to theatre for individuals with sensory impairments
  • A recent report from Vocaleyes and Stagetext (State of Theatre Access Report 2017) shows that out of the whole of the UK, Yorkshire tops the list in two of the six categories (offering BSL and audio described performances) and is second in the other four in terms of having the greatest range of accessible performances and welcoming and accessible theatre spaces


Arts organisations in Leeds are working collaboratively to make it easier for people with sensory impairments to enjoy the magic of theatre this Christmas season. 

From Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid, to family favourites Nativity! The Musical at Leeds Grand Theatre and The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse there is something to suit all tastes. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional pantomimes Jack and the Beanstalk at Carriageworks Theatre and Aladdin The Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime at City Varieties Music Hall. Continuing into the new year, Opera North is presenting Puccini’s ever popular Madama Butterfly at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Throughout the year, theatre venues in Leeds offer several services to help ensure that everyone can enjoy a high-quality theatre experience, including signed, audio described, relaxed, captioned and dementia friendly performances.


Access Leeds Theatre formed the first regional collective working collaboratively to improve access to theatre for individuals with sensory impairments, back in 2013.  We now have over 200 subscribers to our regular newsletters, available in audio and paper formats. The newsletters, sent out in January and August, provide a one-stop shop for all access performance across the city, making planning a visit to the theatre much easier.  To receive our newsletters, please email or call 0113 391 7783.

The collective also regularly attend events and talks for individuals and groups with sensory impairments. During these sessions we offer a glimpse backstage, including props and costumes from past productions, and provide an opportunity to learn more about the additional services we provide.  We are always interested in forming new links with community groups who would benefit from our services. If you would like us to come and speak to your group, then please get in touch on 0113 391 7783 or email


‘’Sensory impairments can have a big effect on people’s mental health and well-being and so I am delighted that six of the city’s major performing arts organisations have collaborated to create Access Leeds Theatre, the first of its type in the region.

‘’I’m sure the accessible festive productions will be fantastic and I would encourage anyone living with a sensory impairment or dementia to go to any of the Access Leeds Theatre performances where they will be met with a very warm welcome.’’

Lord Mayor Cllr Jane Dowson


 “It was my first time at the theatre. I watched the signed performance of Carousel. I never go out, I don’t have any friends. I am deaf and live alone. The evening was very special. I would love to go again – I had never imagined I would go to the theatre – I never knew they did signed performances…”

Attendee at a signed performance of Opera North’s Carousel at Leeds Grand Theatre, 2015