‘Ah, so that’s where the Hull Truck Theatre subtitles appear’
I surmised as I took my seat, off centre in the audience to have a good view of the screens situated on either side of the Heron Stage in Hull Truck Theatre situated in the centre of Hull, only a spitting distance walk from the Hull Interchange Station.
I was here to watch a performance of ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’. Without spoiling the plot, it’s about the story based in a remote cottage in the mountains of Connemara featuring Maureen, a 40 year old woman, who lives with her manipulative and possessive mother, Mag. As they are trapped together in a battle of wills and endless rain driving at the walls, Maureen dreams of escape and suddenly finds herself with an opportunity with an unexpected suitor who could offer a way out. However, Mag has other ideas and sets a motion in a chain of events that builds up to a terrifying climax…
Sounds pretty good, right?
But what made it even better for this performance that I’m attending is that it is captioned. Hull Truck Theatre has developed an accessible programme for the months ahead ensuring that performances can be catered to a wide range of disabilities including:
Blind and partially sighted
- Audio Description – provides information about the visual elements of a production. The Box Office provides infra-red headsets, upon request and audio description is delivered live, in between dialogue.
- Touch Tours – available one hour prior to the audio described show and allow visually impaired patrons the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the set, costumes and props. Places must be booked with the Box Office, 48hrs in advance.
- Assistance dogs – If you are going to be accompanied by an assistance dog please contact the Box Office, in advance of booking, so that we can make arrangements to either seat you together in the auditorium or dog sit for you.
- Wheelchair spaces – available in both The Heron and Studio Theatres and can now be booked online. To set up this facility please contact the Box Office.
Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing
- Theatre captions – similar to television subtitles and convert spoken word in to visible text that provides deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people with access to live performances. You can book the best view caption seats online, please contact the box office to set up this facility.
- British Sign Language (BSL) performances – feature an interpreter who describes the production for those who use BSL to communicate. This is done using gestures, facial expressions and body language.
Additional needs and relaxed performances
- Relaxed performances – specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from a more relaxed environment and include additional lighting, gentler sound effects and a friendly attitude to noise and movement in the auditorium.
Other Accessibility features
- Those who identify as disabled and require an essential companion, to be able to attend the theatre, will be offered half priced tickets* when purchased as a pair.
- Parking is available at the St Stephen’s Shopping Centre Multi-Story Car Park next door. There are disabled parking bays there.
- Drop off point – there is a drop off point 20 metres away from the main entrance.
- Changing places toilet – based at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, just a minutes walk away.
- Breastfeeding – Hull truck Theatre is a breastfeeding friendly organisation and staff is trained to offer support
- Dementia Friends
You can find out more on their clearly marked access page from the homepage here: https://www.hulltruck.co.uk/access/
My Thoughts about Hull Truck Accessibility
What struck me when reading their website is how pro-active they are to cater to all disabilities, visible and hidden, to ensure their performances are accessible. What I particularly liked was as soon as I pressed General Information on their access page, a list of accessible performances is shown for the months ahead. This meant I didn’t have to trawl each show page to find out when the accessible performance is.
So, as a person who is deaf, I opted to go for the Captioned performances and picked out The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which was the main show performed at the Hull Truck Theatre. I picked up my tickets at the ticket desk, manned by deaf aware staff and took my seat in anticipation of the show.
I absolutely loved the show. It was just so nice to be in sync with everyone in the audience feeling the same things, laugh at the same things and what’s more, included. It was a show that still remained in my thoughts for weeks, demonstrating what I experienced is Culture. Really, this is accessible culture, something that is sorely missing up in the North of England. And Hull Truck Theatre is a shining beacon of light to show the way for all entertainment and cultural organisations to take note.
Absolutely recommend this and I’ll be for sure to be seeing more captioned performances in future.
Thanks Hull Truck! That’s for accessible performances for people with deafness and hearing loss!
Captioned Performances in future (at the time of writing November 2019):
Peter Pan – Thur 2nd January 2020 2pm
Two – Thur 26th March 7:30pm
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Sat 11th July 7:30pm
For more information about Hull Truck Theatre:
Want to know more about Hull?
Find out more about my experiences in Hull here: Kingston Upon Hull