As the current Chairman of the Under Ground Theatre, I was saddened to read the letter from Vivienne Baird, ‘disabled need to have access’ [May 13], more so as she is a long-standing member of the theatre.
As a charity, run entirely by unpaid volunteers, for the benefit of the community and relying on donations to fund the many events that we run, to suggest that ‘we should get up to date and not just shrug it off and to change our complacent attitude’ is unfounded, untrue and extremely rude.
The Under Ground Theatre premises are leased by us from the East Sussex County Council, which built the library building back in the 1960s when disabled access was not deemed necessary. Without virtual demolition of the property, the ability to provide ‘even a lift’ is not feasible. Not just my opinion, but many professionals that have looked at this issue over the years.
For those members of the public that are unable to access our premises we do offer, for those that wish to see and hear some of the events, DVDs free of charge. Similarly these can be made available to care homes for the benefit of a larger audience.
As a charity our revenues have been reduced by not being able to hire the theatre to outside groups, who need to show that the disabled are being provided for. Unsatisfactory to them and to us. We are a successful group because of the dedication of our trustees, committee members, patrons and volunteers and we trust that this unfounded criticism will not prevent our regular audiences from continuing to support us.
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