By GALA Expert
August 8, 2023
This list is intended to help those involved in facilities management for their choruses determine the accessibility of a venue for rehearsal or performance.
Although many public buildings now meet the requirements for accessibility defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many older buildings like theaters may not yet meet those requirements. The list below is intended to help those involved in facilities management for their choruses determine the accessibility of a venue for rehearsal or performance.
All leadership designees should familiarize themselves with barriers to access due to mobility. In addition, all ushers and other volunteers who work with the public should be trained to discuss and assist with mobility issues. The need for assistance is always determined by the individual, never by the usher.
- For each of the scenarios below:
- Identify the issue/s surrounding equity, access and belonging present in this scenario.
- Reflect on how this situation may, or may not, be present in your own chorus.
- Brainstorm a range of possible responses to the scenario. In your chorus, whose responsibility is it to speak up and challenge, or support, the issue presented?
- Record your conversations and responses for reporting back to the larger group.
Scenarios for Discussion
- You are a chorus director. For the first time, a wheelchair user auditions for the chorus. You look over the rehearsal space and see wheelchair accessible signage, that there is an elevator, etc. so you feel secure telling the new member, “Our rehearsal space is accessible.” After the first rehearsal, however, the new member approaches you and says, “The bathroom has a grab bar, but the stall door opens inward. I can’t get my chair in and also close the door, leaving me having to pee with the stall door open.” This conversation leaves you feeling insecure that you have the capacity to assess accessibility.
- Your chorus is performing a series of concerts at out-of-town venues. One venue is a state-of-the-art facility, completely ADA compliant for audience members. At tech rehearsal, a member who uses a walker finds that the chorus entrance to the stage is up a short flight of stairs. It takes some time to find an accessible stage entrance for them; the tech director of the facility assures this entrance will also be unlocked come time to enter for the concert. It isn’t, and your chorus member nearly misses the concert trying to get into the stage area.
What are some concrete steps your chorus could undertake to improve accessibility at concerts and around rehearsal spaces?