Usher Hall Blue Sky Glass

The only five star concert hall in Scotland has been given an award for the way it deals with its deaf and hard of hearing customers as well as those with disabilities.

Management and staff at the Usher Hall are pleased to find that their efforts have been recognised in this way.

Convener of Culture and Sport Richard Lewis
Convener of Culture and Sport Richard Lewis

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport said: “Nobody should feel excluded from the arts. In a city like Edinburgh, which has such a rich cultural heritage, it is a real priority to strive towards offering an equal experience for all.

“To better understand how deaf people and those who are hard of hearing can get the most of Scotland’s five star music venue, staff have been taking part in training sessions and helping to enhance the Council’s cultural outreach programme.

“The Usher Hall has had a record year, with ticket sales and audience numbers rising, and this recognition from Attitude Is Everything is yet another reason to celebrate.”

The desire to give all customers equal access to the flagship concert hall was an important item on the agenda right back at the planning stages of the refurbishment.  However, as Karl Chapman, General Manager of the Usher Hall, stated on hearing from Attitude is Everything,

“We are delighted with this award and the recognition of the efforts we have made towards making music more accessible for everyone. Being part of a UK wide scheme is important as we make collective efforts to ensure that everyone can enjoy what live music has to offer.

We have made a number of investments in making our venue accessible but we also recognise that this is a continuous journey of improvement and we are committed to achieving a gold standard by 2017 and ensuring that access issues are part of our mainstream culture.”

The concert hall, which sells around 220,000 tickets each year was given the award following several visits by the organisation.

Gideon Feldman, Attitude is Everything’s Senior Project Manager who worked with the Usher Hall to implement the award said: “Usher Hall is a fantastic venue which ensures everyone is welcome following a beautiful refurb. by looking at the service they provide to their Deaf and disabled customers. The Charter of Best Practice is designed to work in partnership with venues and we were pleased to see Usher Hall review where to find their access provision and how to use it, as well as their policies to ensure an equal experience. Usher Hall are also running a series of Disability Equality Training Sessions to help make sure access is understood across the venue.”