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SIX's Nica Burns Speaks to Accessibility Updates at Vaudeville Theatre


The show has come under scrutiny for the theatre's lack of accessibility. 


As BroadwayWorld reported yesterday, the musical SIX by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss will move to its 'forever home' in the West End when it transfers to the Vaudeville Theatre on The Strand from Wednesday 29 September, 2021. Since the announcement, the show has come under scrutiny for the theatre's lack of accessibility. Chief Executive Nica Burns just released the following statement in response:

"When we bought the Vaudeville I thought, 'No problem, we can sort out disabled access'. It's six steps to the auditorium. Just six steps which are the only accessible route in to or out of the auditorium. We have conducted a number of feasibility studies on solving these six steps and on installing an accessible loo but the particular dimensions and layout of the Vaudeville continue to be a challenge.

The reason why we can't install stair lifts is that these 6 steps are the primary entrance and exit from the stalls and we have not found a stair lift which complies with our fire regulations. In May this year I thought we might solve it when the lovely Sarah Howard, the Access Coordinator at The Park theatre, sent me a link for a specialist lift company in Ireland that turns steps into ramps. 'This is it' I thought. We explored, we investigated and again, because of the particular dimensions at the Vaudeville, it couldn't work as again it fell foul of our fire regulations.

We've also put a lot of work into trying to find a place to install an accessible loo. Again, we've looked at numerous schemes but none of them worked. The Vaudeville front of house footprint is tiny and we simply don't have the room.

So, we try very hard to make our bespoke access service as friendly and comfortable as possible. We provide a trained member of staff to discuss access requirements with each customer which is why we ask access customers to contact us via our access line. We tell people upfront that we escort access customers a short distance down the Strand to use the Adelphi accessible loo.

A new stairclimber is being tested which will take the weight of 400 kilos and enable greater access for our customers.

In the meantime, we will continue working on the Vaudeville challenges, checking new technology as it comes on stream and doing the best we can. The Vaudeville is a little gem of a playhouse and we've presented hundreds of brilliant shows to our audiences and welcomed many disabled customers.

Let's be very clear, we do care. We do think about you. We respect you. From the bottom of my heart I wish we had better facilities for you. In the meantime, we will do our best to accommodate all of our customers' needs and give you a very warm welcome."

SIX has been running at the Lyric since 21 May, where it has been playing to socially distanced
audiences since it moved from the Arts Theatre.

SIX will perform an 8-show week at the Vaudeville Theatre and will continue with its current cast until Sunday 14 November. An all-new cast (to be announced) will perform from Tuesday 16 November.

The musical simultaneously continues its sold-out UK Tour and reopens at the Brooks Atkinson
Theatre on Broadway on Sunday 3 October.

SIX has become a global phenomenon since its early days as a student production in a 100-seat room at Sweet Venue during the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As the pandemic struck, SIX was playing to sold-out houses in London's West End, across the UK and Australia, and had its opening night in New York on Thursday March 12, 2020 cancelled when the New York Governor shut down Broadway three hours before the show was due to open.

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