If you feel like a trip to the theatre soon, I’d enthusiastically recommend Caroline, Or Change on now at the Hampstead Theatre, London, running until 21 April, 2018.
I saw it over the Easter weekend and, having not been to Hampstead Theatre since becoming a wheelchair user, I’m happy to report that it’s a really [power] wheelchair friendly venue.
Using our satnav, we found the theatre easily, pulling up to a wide, gently sloping drop off area, with one blue badge space – seen in the image below, and in use the evening we were there.
I rolled out of our car easily and D parked the car on single yellows close by, no trouble.
The outside area is all easily wheeled paving and there’s a level entrance with a gentle, wide slope up to the main theatre a few yards inside.
The bar area was all wheelchair friendly but, like all busy theatres, teeming with people and it’s hard not to get in the way … or hard for walking people not to fall all over you even when you are clearly visible and stationary in your wheelchair. (Baffling!) So, I quickly rolled ramp-wise, up and in.
The wheelchair space allocated to me was just to the left of my entry point and easily turned into with level floors and a decent amount of space to manoeuvre. D was seated just to my left.
The seating is all in a semi-circle around a central stage and we were about mid-way point in height with no sight line restrictions. It’s a relatively small, intimate, theatre much like The Donmar or Almeida in atmosphere so you’re pretty close to the action.
The play we saw, Caroline, Or Change, was fantastic with Sharon D. Clarke as the star attraction, supported by really strong performances from all the fabulous cast. At the interval, we were a bit, “great performances but … not totally feeling it yet.” By the end, we were on our feet with the rest of the audience – okay, not on my feet but I was enthusiastically clapping. Great theatre.
The entire run of this play is pretty much sold out at Hampstead Theatre but it’s always worth calling as wheelchair spaces may still be available. Also, the production is transferring to the West End later in the year – click across to the Hampstead Theatre website to find out more.
Having enjoyed this experience enormously, I shall be keeping my eyes open future productions at Hampstead Theatre, recommending it to even the most cautious of wheelchair users who’d like an easy theatrical evening out.