A while ago I posted a rant about wheelchair accessibility in the theater that hosts the company I do tech for sometimes, and am currently in a production with. TL;DR: the auditorium was built with gaps in the regular seating to park wheelchairs and such, but the building manager has opted to put folding chairs in those spaces, meaning that people without wheelchairs are sitting in them. I said at the time that I was going to approach building management about it, and that’s still my intention, but I haven’t yet because (A) I wanted to find out more information about how seating worked during events and (B) I find these sorts of confrontations usually go better when I enter them armed with chapter and verse of the violation, ideally highlighted in a hard copy. (I don’t always pull these out, sometimes people are willing to work with you. But it makes it easier for me to approach the subject.)
I have since learned several things, none of them encouraging:
Tickets are sold online or to walk-ins at the box office. Seating is assigned by ticket and there is no way to indicate at the time of purchase that you will need an accommodation.
During the last show I did tech for there was an individual in a wheelchair who attended: her assigned seat was behind the wheelchair-accessible level of the auditorium, up two small flights of stairs. The building manager’s solution to this problem was to get someone she was with to carry her up the stairs and put her in a seat, while the wheelchair was removed to the lobby so it wasn’t in the way. (This strikes me as a safety concern, if nothing else.)
The elevator shuts down automatically at 7:30 PM and cannot be used except by about six individuals with access after that. Many companies that use the space still have classes and events after 7:30, and tours of the facilities regularly extend past that time.
The wheelchair-accessible bathroom stalls on the third floor (and possibly other floors, I haven’t checked) are locked from the inside. This could be because they are out of service, but my other observations don’t leave me very hopeful.
The message I’m getting here -- mind you, the whole branding of this facility is that it’s the central hub of the artistic community in the city -- the message I’m getting pretty loud and clear here is “There’s no room for disabled people in art.” Which is. Great.