Theatres need improving…

…for able-bodied women.

The Theatre’s Trust announced a new scheme to improve women’s toilet facilities at up to 10 theatres.

Taken from the BBC News article, “The anxiety caused by long queues, with unappealing conditions often awaiting even the lucky few, meaningfully diminishes the joy of theatre for about half the audience.”

The anxiety of having to wait!

Ah, yes, at my local theatre (and at many across the country) there is huge anxiety caused through having to wait till we get home because there is no accessible toilet facility that my son can use. None. It is fair to say that having to leave the theatre to go home to use the toilet more than just “meaningfully diminishes” our joy. As does the experience of trying to hold on in order to see the whole show.

Unappealing conditions.

In the event of a disabled person being unable to hold on, what is going to happen? For many, this means being hauled out of their wheelchair and laid on the toilet floor, praying that someone remembered to bring a big mat to lie on. I am no longer able to lift my son, so what would happen to him? I don’t need to describe it. You can imagine.

Crying your eyes out at the awfulness of the situation most definitely “meaningfully diminishes” the joy of the theatre experience. As does injuring yourself lifting another person.

Did you know that “British guidelines” are that for a 500-seat auditorium, eight ladies’ toilets should be provided? Minimum standards are apparently not so okay for able-bodied women.

Yes, I totally agree that in many theatres the toilet facilities for able bodied people are not great.

But at least they exist!

Theatres can apply for help to improve toilets for women, including unisex and gender neutral toilets. I have never yet seen a disabled toilet marked with a gender. Maybe a gender neutral toilet with a bench and ceiling hoist could be part of the request?

I don’t mean to sound that I don’t care about poor facilities for able-bodied women. Of course they should be improved. I just wish that people like my son could matter too.

What is it with these “invisibility wheelchairs” which seem to be better at hiding people than Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak? I seem to recall that people at least had an inkling that someone was hiding under the cloak?




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