Pioneers of accessibility

Access and Inclusion is at the forefront of everything we do.

We have become industry leading in our work to normalise the presence of deaf and disabled people on and off our stages. From weaving access as creative layers into productions, welcoming a wide variety of deaf, disabled, neurodiverse and learning disabled actors and creatives across a range of shows and projects. To changing processes, bricks and mortar to make our organisation more inclusive, we believe this work not only enables everyone to take part, but also provides new and interesting ways to tell stories. We are committed to continuing our learning and practice in this area.

Find out more about our types of access performances here.

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How we have made change...

Productions and artistic development

  • The first theatre in the UK to initiate Relaxed performances.
  • The first theatre in the world to have Dementia Friendly performances.
  • Creatively integrating access into over 10 productions since 2018.
  • Ensuring there are always a range of accessible performances available for all Leeds Playhouse productions.
  • Employing, commissioning and collaborating with deaf, disabled, neurodiverse and learning disabled actors and creatives in a variety of shows and projects.
  • Free workshops exploring creative access in our monthly Make it Happen workshops, as part of Furnace.


How we have made change...

As an organisation

  • 30% of our internal workforce now identify as being deaf and/or disabled.
  • Creating accessible marketing materials, including creatively captioning and audio describing filmed materials and creating British Sign Language (BSL) and audio described season brochures.
  • Employing three Agents for Change (Ali Briggs, John R. Wilkinson and Paul Wilshaw) as well as one Artist for Change (Leanna Benjamin) since 2016. We will soon be recruiting for a new Artist for Change to join the organisation.
  • Introducing our Priority Access Membership scheme so those with access requirements can book tickets, specific to their needs, online.
  • Changes to make rehearsal and production processes more accessible in a practical way, such as access riders and visual doorbells.
  • Working to improve our recruitment, interview and induction processes to be more accessible.
  • We are Level 2 members of the Disability Confident scheme and currently applying for Level 3 Leader status.

How we have made change...

Ramps on the Moon consortium

Leeds Playhouse is proud to be part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium. Through Ramps on the Moon we committed to a programme of organisational change with the aim of making a major step change in the representation of deaf and disabled people within our industry.

The Ramps on the Moon project allowed us to put deaf and disabled actors at the heart of main stage productions, demonstrated by our filmed production of Oliver Twist (2021), which is available to watch on National Theatre: At Home’s streaming service.

In September 2022, we shared our learning through the Ramps on the Moon project with 120 artists at a large-scale symposium called Theatre for Change: Why Access Shouldn’t Be An Afterthought which we presented at the Playhouse in collaboration with Sheffield Theatres. Learn more in the video below.

More information about Ramps on the Moon can be found here.

Theatre for Change: Why Access Shouldn’t Be An Afterthought video


    Arts Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • LTB Foundation
  • Principal Partner

    Caddick Group
  • Principal Access Partner

    Irwin Mitchell