After a major refurbishment, the Kiln Theatre (formerly known as The Tricycle) has re-opened its’ doors and, drum roll, wheelchair access to the Theatre space has been dramatically improved.
It was never that bad previously but it was awkward – I’m specifically referring to the Theatre space within the Kiln rather than the entire building housing all of the Kiln’s activities.
The entire building was refurbished some years back and has long had a fully wheelchair accessible side entrance, a level floor internally to the bar, cafe and box office and a lift to the basement cinema. The spot with less than smooth access was the theatre space (and the front entrance which had a ghastly slope – I didn’t use this so I don’t know if that entrance has easier access. I will look next time.).
Previously, wheelchairs users had to enter the theatre space via an industrial lift in which we were winched up to a height level with those seated at the rear stalls and separated from our companions by huge iron railings. The lift space was tight, lengthwise, for a power chair and involved the removal of seats and a lot of noise. Impossible to get in place without the entire audience being aware of it. Late-coming or no-show wheelchair users were a nightmare for them – in fact, late entry was simply not possible which, given the traffic and parking pressure outside the theatre led to much teeth-grinding fury for us.
Thankfully, that’s all gone. The refurbished theatre space allows us wheelies to enter through the doors with our friends – woo-hoo, progress has been made. The spaces for wheelchairs are close by, across level floors with good sightlines about two thirds of the way back from the stage – see the image below.
Fantastic. Kudos to the Kiln which has always offered a wonderfully eclectic range of productions and, looking at what’s upcoming, I am thrilled that my future visits will be so much easier and all the more enjoyable for it, except for …
Outside access: the Kiln is located in a busy, highly residential, area with poorly maintained, sloping pavements and roads outside and very little parking close by. The Blue Badge spaces directly outside seem to be permanently occupied. Dropping off and traversing this external obstacle course is … precarious. On this occasion, we ended up straddling a driveway at an odd angle, trying to avoid bins and rubbish bags as I dismounted. Not fun.
Oh, how I wish they’d costed in a wheelchair drop off area by that wonderfully accessible side entrance. However, this minor hiccup won’t be stopping me going back.
If you are wondering, I saw Holy Sh!t on this occasion which was funny, populated with seemingly vile characters and packed a hugely powerful punch at the end. Well worth seeing.
A venue worth a visit: Kiln Theatre, Kilburn.