Arts organisations should consider offering concessionary prices to disabled people in the following circumstances:
When an organisation requests that a disabled person is accompanied.
Some venues request that a wheelchair user or blind person is accompanied due to “fire regulations”. In this case, the disabled person does not have the option of attending on their own, so the companion ticket should be free of charge, regardless of other concessions available to the disabled person (see examples below)
When the choice of seating (in a venue) or route (at a gallery or festival) is restricted.
If choice of accessible seating or route is restricted, concessions should apply. Prices should be no higher than the lowest available ticket price. This concession should also be available to a companion.
When a disabled person needs to purchase a more expensive seat to access the performance.
- Deaf people will need to sit near the front in order to see a sign language interpreter, or may need to sit within a certain area to use the hearing induction loop or to see captioned theatre or film subtitles.
- Blind people may need to sit where infra red headsets can be used in order to access an audio described facility.
- Disabled people may simply need to sit near the front to see or hear more easily even if a specific access facility such as interpretation or audio description is not in use.
These seats may have the most expensive ticket prices, but the lowest available price should apply. The concessions should also be available to a companion.
When a disabled person may be unable to attend without a companion.
For example, some people with learning difficulties may be unable to attend without their support worker. Ideally the support worker should be able to attend free of charge.
Policy could state: “We offer one free companion ticket to someone accompanying a disabled adult who would otherwise be unable to attend.”
‘Companion’ is a catch-all term used to refer to a PA, Support Worker or Carer.
Examples of how this might work:
- Simply take the customer’s word for it that they need to attend with a companion
- State that tickets should be booked in advance. Companion must be either the disabled person’s employee, or a regular member of their support team. Remember though that not every disabled person employs a PA or has an officially designated support worker, so this option might exclude some people.
- In some cases, the disabled person’s companion may be a family member, so you need to be clear as to how this works in practice. Usually a child would be accompanied by an adult anyway, regardless of whether or not they are disabled. Therefore, the concession would not apply to the child’s parent, other family member or ‘responsible adult’. It could help to set an age limit on the facility; if, for example, your general policy is that a young person aged 16 and over may attend without an adult, then the free ticket concessionary facility should apply to the companion of a disabled person aged 16 and over.
When concessions are offered to senior citizens, students and unemployed people, they should also be offered to disabled people.
It is for the venue to decide whether or not proof of status is required, though this might be difficult for some disabled people. Venue policy should be clear on whether or not concessions will be permitted if a disabled person does not have proof of status.
Policy, procedure and practice
All managers, box office and front of house staff should be aware of organisational policy, procedure and practice on concessionary pricing. It is essential that these issues are clearly communicated, and that staff are aware of who has responsibility in specific situations.