Tees Music Alliance has been awarded ‘bronze status’ for its commitment to deaf and disabled music fans, following recognition by Attitude is Everything – the charity that improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences artists and the music industry and operates a nationwide Charter of Best Practice.
TMA achieved its award for the facilities and services on offer at The Georgian Theatre, which recently closed for a £1.4M refurbishment, taking place over the winter months.
The award comes as part of TMA’s drive to increase the number of Deaf and disabled people visiting their events as part of their Arts Council England funded project – Reaching Out.
To qualify for charter status, live music venues must demonstrate exemplary access provision and an on-going commitment to improving accessibility - working with Attitude is Everything, to go beyond the legal obligations set out in the Equality Act, to implement best practice, and to provide a fair and equal service to their Deaf and disabled customers.
TMA Chief Executive, Paul Burns, said;
“We’ve always been very keen to make sure that our customers are able to enjoy our events – whether or not they have some form of disability or impairment."
"We want to particularly reassure customers who consider themselves to be disabled that we pride ourselves on welcoming everyone into our buildings and that our staff will do everything we can to give them a great time when they are with us."
“It’s important to us as an organisation to show that we are set up to remove as much stress and hassle from disabled customers and that they are reassured that their experience will be a positive one from the moment that they buy their ticket through to them leaving us after an enjoyable show.”
More than 120 venues and festivals have already committed to the Charter, from large-scale events and arenas, including Glastonbury, Latitude, Download, Reading/Leeds and The O2 through to the 14 mid-sized venues owned by Academy Music Group and a diverse range of smaller clubs and student union venues.
Commenting on the award, Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, said:
“The Georgian Theatre, through Tees Music Alliance, has shown an ongoing commitment to ensuring their venue is as accessible as it can be to Deaf and disabled gig goers, performers and staff. The refurbishment of this space will only enhance the access provision on offer.
The Charter is not just about the physical nature of the venue, however, and through putting the Charter in place TMA have reviewed their policies to ensure access is considered in every area of the management of the venue. They have also given the information available on their website a major overhaul to ensure those coming to the venue have a full understanding of what to expect. We are really proud to welcome The Georgian Theatre on to the Charter of Best Practice.”
Programming & Production Manager, Chris Cobain, from The Georgian Theatre added;
“It’s probably easy to think that there’s been a lot of work involved in achieving this award; but the reality is it’s just been a case of proving what we already do on a day to day basis."
“Simple things like asking customers to be aware of not standing in the way of someone in a wheelchair or making sure the sign for our accessible toilet is easily seen."
“Most people with a disability don’t want special treatment; they just want to be able to do everything that everyone else is able to do while they are with us – such as get into the building easily, find their way around, get to the bar and be able to see the performance.”
In 2014, year-on-year sales of accessible ticket sales at venues and festivals signed up to the Charter of Best Practice increased by over 70% to 115,000 tickets, generating £5.4m for the music industry.
Tees Music Alliance offers free entry to personal assistants for disabled people who many need a friend, helper or family member to accompany them; details are on the TMA website.
ABOUT TEES MUSIC ALLIANCE
Tees Music Alliance is a music charity established in 1986 - working with local artists and developing audiences. TMA runs The Georgian Theatre and The Green Room music venues, rehearsal rooms and a recording studio in the Green Dragon area of Stockton town centre - to support emerging artists on the Teesside music scene. TMA celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016 as well as the 250th year since its venue – The Georgian Theatre – was built. During 2016 / 17 The Georgian Theatre is undergoing a £1.4M refurbishment – offering improved facilities to artists and audiences.
ABOUT ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK. Celebrating their 15th anniversary in 2015, the charity’s many successes to date include working with Festival Republic and Ground Control on all of their UK festivals, supporting Academy Music Group and National Arena Association venues to sign up to the Charter, and working with London Borough of Tower Hamlets to use the Charter of Best Practice as an event standard for all festivals taking place in Victoria Park. Attitude is Everything’s patrons include artists such as Robert Wyatt and Blaine Harrison, while supporters of the charity’s #MusicWithoutBarriers campaign include Stevie Wonder, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Alt-J, Anna Calvi, Belle & Sebastian, Chvrches, Villagers and Enter Shikari.