Visit to The Barbican 6th January – National Youth Orchestra concert

Arriving at the main entrance to the Barbican was uneventful, I was able to pick up our ‘dear leader’ from her taxi without a hitch. The Barbican disabled access is pretty good with lots of ramps and wheel ways … however it is, unless you go there a lot, pretty hard to navigate.

On a side note there is now a rule where people with disabilities have to register for disabled seats – which means apparently they have to prove they are blue badgers (as opposed to blue foxes?) but that issue is probably best left for another discussion group.

I went up to the nearest usher and asked where the disabled positions were in the theatre. Surprisingly, with our ‘dear leader’ (in her wheel chair of course),I was asked “can she walk unaided?”. I mentioned that the whole point of the disabled positions were that we can wheel in and the companion (in this case me) gets a seat next to the position for the wheelchair. Anyway it turned out we were in the wrong place, so we made a quick U turn and headed for the lift. Imagine our surprise when we were barred from the lift because it was “under control” i.e. the two people in this 15? person lift had priority. To be fair the two people in the lift looked embarrassed when  we were refused entry.

Eventually we found the right entrance and the wheelchair position was close to the door (good). The “seat” for the companion was in the form of an ejector seat. That is, it tried to collapse into the folded position whenever I moved. When I got up it ejected my coat that was on the rear of the seat. It is worth noting that companion seats are cheap, but in other theatres they are normal seats, not so here. The concert was excellent. Before and afterwards we enjoyed the facilities of the lounge upstairs (level 1 access by lift only), not the most “stylish” place I have been to but the staff were very friendly if a little inefficient. Having had our fill of Peroni and white wine, It only remained to make sure our ‘dear leader’ was safely ensconsed in her chariot, thank god for black cabs and their ramps.




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