Please find below details on The Ochard Theatre's accessibility. Should you require any further assistance during your visit to The Orchard please speak to a member of staff who will contact the Duty Manager.
Please note the Orchard Theatre does not have any lifts.
The theatre has six on-site parking bays for the priority use of patrons who are using our disabled spaces. A free car park entry token and permit is sent out to such patrons who request the facility at the time of booking, with the tickets for the performance.
If any of these spaces are still available on the day of the performance, they will be offered to disabled badge-holders on a first-come, first-served basis (whether by telephone or in person).
In addition to the on-site bays, there are five public disabled parking spaces in Suffolk Road to the right of the clock-tower and further spaces are available in the town centre and on the lower level of the Orchards Shopping Centre Car Park.
Please note that, due to health and safety reasons, our staff are unable to assist disabled patrons in and out of their transport or mobility equipment.
Guests with access needs who wish to dine in The Restaurant can be accommodated in the lower foyer. Please inform a member of the team at the time of booking.
Inside The Theatre
There is wheelchair/level access to the stalls, lower bar/café and disabled toilets, via a ramp to the right of the main entrance. Our staff at the lower café/bar will gladly assist those patrons who have difficulty directly accessing our Ticket Office. All of our stairs have handrails except those in the auditorium. Please note the Orchard Theatre does not have any lifts.
Most of the seating within the auditorium is of the traditional raked amphitheatre style with steps to each row. In particular, the upper circle seating and steps are high and steep without handrails. Customers with mobility difficulties may wish to avoid this area.
Wheelchair users are accommodated in six licensed spaces, three each side of the front stalls, adjacent to ramped emergency exits. Additional seating is provided next to these spaces for a companion.
As the use of motorised mobility scooters in the busy public areas of the theatre may pose a hazard, disabled customers who are unable to access the theatre by other means must inform the Ticket Office at the time of booking or (where tickets have not been pre-booked) immediately upon arrival. Our staff will then be able to provide those customers with information regarding the safe use of their scooter in the theatre. Customers who do not need to enter the theatre on their mobility scooter are able to park them outside.
The Orchard Theatre reserves the right to refuse admission to any customer, where it is believed by the Duty Manager that, at such time, admission would contravene the conditions of the licence and/or pose a higher than acceptable risk to public safety.
Patrons who require particular seating arrangements in order to accommodate difficulties they may have in attending performances should contact the Ticket Office.
Patrons and their carers/assistants are welcome to visit the theatre prior to attending a performance in order to familiarize themselves with the theatre's layout. These visits can be arranged by contacting the Duty Manager on 01322 220099.
The Ticket Office is briefed on the style of performances in case either a patron or their assistant require further information as to its suitability for that patron prior to deciding whether to book.
Information is offered in good faith. However please be aware that the creative elements of a live performance may not have been finalised at the time of booking and may even be changed during the performance day.
Warning notices advising of the use of stroboscopic lighting effects and pyrotechnic explosives are displayed in the entrance foyer on the day of the performances concerned.
The theatre has installed two systems to help those with impaired hearing.
Firstly, the theatre is equipped with an infra-red audio enhancement system. Both infrared headphone receivers and necklace style induction loop transceivers (which work in tandem with an existing hearing aid set to "T") are available and can be pre-ordered when the initial booking is made and then collected from the Ticket Office before the performance commences. No fee is charged for the use of these receivers although a £5 refundable deposit is required.
Secondly, the theatre is equipped with an induction loop system which can be used by those with hearing aids. In order to use the system, a patron should set their hearing aid to the 'T' position once inside the auditorium. The system works best if the patron is seated in the centre of the auditorium and so patrons who wish to use this service should inform the Ticket Office at the time of booking so that a suitable seat can be found.
For loud music concerts these systems may not be suitable. The Ticket Office is able to provide advice as to whether these systems may be suitable in respect of any particular show.
These systems are regularly checked to ensure that they are operating correctly. However, in the unlikely event that you experience any difficulty, please report the matter to a member of staff.
The theatre brochure is available in large print. Please contact the Ticket Office to get hold of a large print copy.
To support easier communication there is a facility for exchanging written notes between staff and customers at our Ticket Office and other points of sale.
A seat space can be made available for the use of guide/assistance dogs. Please advise the Ticket Office at the time of booking, so that suitable arrangements can be made.
Relaxed PerformancesDesigned to welcome into the theatre people with special needs (including Autistic Spectrum Conditions and/or learning disabilities) and, crucially, their families, this relaxed performance aims to give those who otherwise might feel excluded the chance to experience the magic of live theatre.
Those needs are accounted for with a more relaxed atmosphere, including the acceptance of noise from audience members. The lights may be left up, auditorium doors left open and audience members are able to come and go as they please throughout the show. Some of the loud and bright elements will be reduced and strobe lighting and pyrotechnics will be removed.
The show is otherwise ‘the same’ production and enjoyable for all. It may also be more suitable for customers with very young children.
A visual story to support this performance will be available on our website in advance of the show. Please contact us if you require a copy in the post or on email.
If you have specific requirements regarding this performance, please contact our Front of House Manager or the Ticket Office Team.
Audio Descripted Performances
Audio description is a verbal commentary that tells visually impaired theatre-goers what is happening on the stage during the parts of the performance where there is no dialogue (i.e. during fight scenes). The description does not interfere with the performance but fills in the gaps, describing facial expressions, costume, scenery and action sequences so that anyone with a sight problem can follow the plot fully and independently. Furthermore on the day a touch tour takes place prior to the show and gives those people who will be listening to the audio description a chance to explore the set, costumes and sometimes, meet some of the actors.
When booking for an Audio Described performance, please inform a member of the Ticket Office team, so they can assist in selecting the most appropriate seats for you. We will also reserve your headset.
STAGETEXT Captioned PerformanceCaptioning converts the spoken word into text that provides people with hearing loss access to live performance. In captioning, the words appear on a screen at the same time as they are sung or spoken. Captions also include sound effects and offstage noises.
For more information visit www.stagetext.org
Our Visual Story has helped numerous children and adults who experience Autistic spectrum disorders. It breaks down the experience of visiting the theatre into small steps using words and pictures.
or alternatively contact our Front of House Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to send you a copy in the post.
We regularly review our Access Policy as well as the facilities we provide to disabled patrons, in order to ensure that all our disabled patrons feel welcome at the theatre. We greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have about how we could improve your access to, and enjoyment of, the theatre and its facilities.
If you require any further information, please contact our Hospitality Manager, Zelda Kitto on 01322 220099 or email email@example.com.