Theatres Trust launched its £300,000 building improvement scheme earlier this year, as the new fund plans to help theatres improve their signage, seating and access routes to improve accessibility for staff and audiences. Many theatres are many years old, so this fund will go a long way in ensuring theatres and other similar buildings are as inclusive and accessible as possible.
The building improvement scheme is a collaboration partnership with the Theatre’s Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, and will see theatres of all sizes eligible for up to £20,000 in funding this year to make their buildings more welcoming. Known officially as the ‘Theatre Improvement Scheme’, it will provide up to £20,000 for venues planning “innovative and pioneering” changes and will be available over three years.
As aged buildings, many just cannot cater for audiences in this way, and those built a considerable time ago face challenges ensuring all audience members, companies, and crew can have an equally good experience. The annually themed scheme, which is focusing on access in 2018, will distribute £100,000 each year. It is open to non-profit theatres of all sizes that demonstrate excellence in their bid to become an accessible theatre. The access projects theatres may undertake a focus on access behind the scenes or front of house, and consequently the aim is that the selected theatres will act as best-case examples for other theatres.
Changes to levels, signage and seating are just some of the areas that need addressing, and now can be by the Theatres Trust fund. Theatres will be able to challenge the norm for these buildings, and embark on projects to make theatre going accessible for all. The deadline for applications for the 2018 improving accessibility fund is 13 September 2018. Themes for 2019 and 2020 will be announced in due course.