I've been a theatre reviewer for a few years now and as a whole, it's something that I really enjoy. I love sharing my thoughts of theatre for the people that want to listen, and making stagey content for socials is one of my favourite things to do. However, as a disabled theatre reviewer, I find the theatre world a lot trickier to navigate.

I have been disabled for over a decade now, and my access needs have gotten progressively worse in recent years. This isn't a post about my disability, but in short, I have many diagnosed illnesses that led to my disability status, including PoTS, EDS, asthma and endometriosis, to name but a few. I pass out a lot, which is why it's important to have a carer/companion with me at all times.

This is where being a theatre reviewer is tricky. For most shows, solo tickets are the norm. It's more unusual than not to only receive one ticket. Which for most people is fine, but for me, it's not. There have been times where I've asked for two tickets and explained my access needs as a reviewer, and been refused. It's frustrating as this isn't a want for a second ticket, this is a need to keep me safe.

For many press events or performances, my husband (who is also my full time carer) waits outside the venue or a nearby coffee shop in case he's needed. This is far less than ideal and is infuriating for both myself and him. 

Some people reading this may feel the same way I do at times, "but these tickets are free, stop complaining". But I've reached the point now where I think, "why should I put myself at risk just because I'm disabled? I should be given the same opportunities as abled reviewers, even if that means a ticket for my carer". 

The theatre is already difficult for disabled people like myself, so you can only imagine how difficult it is to navigate as a reviewer. It feels almost like I'm being an inconvenience when I ask for the accommodations I need to be safe, and in all honestly, I shouldn't be. No one should.

Theatre reviewing aside, I had an experience with Theatre Royal Drury Lane just this week where I wanted to attend the tour, but they didn't offer carer tickets. I explained how dangerous this was and simply asked why this was the case. They replied asking why it was dangerous (which I then had to explain my access needs in depth, despite already being part of their access scheme) and was told my carer should wait in the bar. After copious back and forth, I was finally offered a carer ticket. But it shouldn't be this difficult. 

Being a disabled theatre reviewer, I'm definitely in the minority. Which is why I thought it was important to share this post and highlight how difficult it can be at times. I love being a reviewer but something has to change to be inclusive of all. I'm a disabled theatre reviewer, and finally not ashamed to say so

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