Accessible Performances

For the full list of current accessible performances click here

Find out more about our accessible performances  Expand All

Audio Described performances give you a live commentary about the action happening on the stage through a pair of small headphones. It’s a great way for anyone who finds it difficult to see the details of a performance to still enjoy coming to the theatre.

If you use television audio description, a magnifier or large print books at home then live audio description means you can enjoy a theatre outing with your friends and family.

To help you immerse yourselves in the show as much as possible we offer touch tours before each audio-described performance enabling you to explore the stage and get a feel of the set and costumes before the play starts.

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During a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreted performance an interpreter stands on or at the side of the stage, clearly visible to the audience, and interprets the spoken word and sound effects for Deaf patrons who use BSL.

Ensure you tell the box office you are booking to use the interpreter and they will seat you appropriately.

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Captioning converts the spoken word into text that provides people with hearing loss access to live performance. In captioning, the words appear on a screen at the same time as they are sung or spoken.

Captioning is a great way for anyone who finds it difficult to hear the actors speaking to still enjoy coming to the theatre. You may hear most things but if you need to see people’s faces to follow a conversation or struggle with certain voices, accents or styles of speaking. You will see the words spoken by the performers displayed as text on a screen on or next to the stage. You will also see the name of the character who is speaking and a description of any sound effects. It’s a bit like television subtitles.

People who are studying classic texts or want to improve their English may also find captioning useful.

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A Relaxed Performance is one which has been carefully adjusted to reduce anxiety or stress for those who might otherwise find the experience unsettling or difficult.

For example, someone with autism, sensory and communication needs and/or a learning disability might be reluctant for a variety of reasons to attend public theatre performances. Relaxed performances are a fantastic way to offer families the chance to experience theatre together. In a Relaxed Performance, the audience benefit from a relaxed environment as the performance is adjusted to reduce anxiety or stress, for example changes are made to sound and lighting to eliminate surprise and soften their impact. There is a relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance.

Audience members always have the option to watch the show on plasma screen in the bar if being in the auditorium becomes overwhelming. We introduced relaxed performances as an extra option for audiences and to remove barriers to access and enjoyment. It’s about making the theatre welcoming and inclusive for all.

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All staff members are Dementia Friends and we are working towards being a Dementia Friendly Venue. Dementia Friendly performances include a reminiscence and familiarisation talk/tour with supporting visual aids. Relaxed Performances may also be suitable for people living with Dementia.

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Accessible Brochures

Large Print Brochure

Our large print brochures are available on request. Get in touch with a member of the Ticket Sales team if you would like to hear more about a particular production coming up.

Audio Brochure

Our audio brochures are available on request. Get in touch with a member of the Ticket Sales team if you would like to hear more about a particular production coming up.

Venue Guides

New Wolsey Theatre

Photograph: Mike Kwasniak

New Wolsey Theatre, Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2AS

The foyers and auditorium are accessible from the street without encountering any steps with automated doors at the entrance. Row C and Row K are flat level access (Row K via the passenger lift). For each subsequent row there are two steps. There are six spaces available for wheelchair users in the auditorium, four in Row C and two in Row K. Click here to view seating plans where accessible seating is indicated in yellow.

Guide dogs are welcome throughout the building and, if you prefer, we will happily look after your dog whilst you watch the performance.

The Box Office is located inside the main entrance. It has a low level service. There is one accessible toilet on the ground floor near to the Café Bar and one in the Bar on the first floor. You can pre-order interval drinks to avoid queuing.

There is a Hearing System in the auditorium, this replaces the traditional ‘loop’ that you might expect. You will need a headset to take advantage of the system. Head sets are collected from the Box Office for a returnable deposit of £10.00. You can either choose an in-ear headset that acts as headphones or a personal hearing loop by switching your hearing aid to ‘T’.

Touch Tours for visually impaired audiences are available before Audio Described performances. Touch tours introduce blind and partially sighted visitors to the arrangement of the stage and help participants to engage with the ideas, props and costumes. Please contact the Box Office for information on booking Touch Tours.

The most convenient collection / drop off point for taxis is at the rear of the theatre by the Stage Door. The rear of the theatre is on Chapman Lane accessible via Black Horse Lane. From there the theatre is accessible via a ramp to the side of the building.

For daytime productions the Ipswich Shuttle Bus stops just outside the theatre on Civic Drive. This service runs from 7.00am to 7.00pm.

Ipswich Dial-A-Ride Ltd (IDaR) provides wheelchair accessible minibuses- call 08453 479379 between 10.30am and 4.00pm.

For the easiest access we recommend the Pay and Display Car Park accessible from Black Horse Lane, then left to the end of Chapman Lane where there are 5 Blue Badge Parking Bays. Parking charges do apply. The theatre is then accessible via a ramp.



The golden-roofed building, NW2, in Theatre Square. A crowd of people watch activity in 'The Bowl' performance space.

Photograph: Will Green Photography

NW2, Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2AS

A beautiful and striking space, golden-roofed ‘NW2’ will house the New Wolsey Theatre’s youth and participation activities. The accessible building features a participation space, offices, a meeting room, editing suite and Changing Places facility, making sure everyone feels welcome and included. NW2 is accessible from the street without encountering any steps.

Creative Case

Sarah Holmes,  former Chief Executive, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, talks about restarting the theatre as a place that everyone can access without permission or concession as part of the Heads Up series of films for the Creative Case.

The ‘Heads Up’ series feature a number of arts professionals and arts organisations who discuss their involvement with the Creative Case and what it means to them.