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Making theater tickets accessible

by Kimberly Johnson
Making theater tickets accessible

It’s always a pleasure to see a show at the local theater, especially when there is so much choice available. There are over 2,500 regional theaters across the USA, hosting a huge variety of shows every year including major tours like Jersey Boys, to classic ballets like Swan Lake. Making theater tickets accessible
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for seniors to book their tickets for these productions. If you are a wheelchair user or otherwise restricted in your movement, you may have noticed that there is very little accessibility information available online when booking tickets. In fact, only 2 in 10 live entertainment venues offer online booking for access customers. Making theater tickets accessible
Most of the time, patrons with access requirements will have to pay to call up theaters just to find out whether or not they will be able to see the show. Should customers have to field these costs just to find out if they can go to a theatre? Making theater tickets accessible
If you’ve found yourself struggling to buy tickets for a show or an event, you’re not alone. This matter was recently raised in the UK, and in December 2016 the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers met for the first time about online accessibility requirements. Led by Nimbus Disability, attendees shared their understanding of accessible requirements in ticketing and outlined what steps need to be taken to improve the online experience for disabled and elderly ticket-buyers.
The workshop concluded that lots more needs to be done to both improve the quality and quantity of access content available online, and also to allow customers to book online free of charge. Sadly, many customers still aren’t aware of the access facilities available to them at venues, which is preventing them from booking.
Fortunately some organisations are leading the way in providing accessible information to theater-goers. Ticketmaster have introduced online ticketing for access customers, whilst start-up companies like SeatPlan are providing detailed accessibility guides online like this one.
If you’re finding you cannot get the information you need online to buy your tickets, be sure to let venues know about it. You can also enquire about concession or access discounts over the phone or via email, as these are not always well advertised online. This should enable you to see shows for less, whilst encouraging venues to make changes that will help you in future.
By Cameron Lund, SeatPlan

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