While the doors of Leicester’s Curve theatre may be closed, the theatre has remained committed to providing a range of accessible features online. To enable everyone to discover shows and digital content, gather vital access information and book tickets, the theatre offers accessibility and language support online.
Everyone should have the opportunity to be able to access online content, yet there are over 14 million people across the UK who face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites. The numbers don’t stop there, there are a wide range of reasons why people need online support;
• 15% Of UK residents are Neurodiverse
• 2 Million of people in the UK have a visual impairment
• 15% of the UK population have learning difficulties
• 10% of the UK don’t speak English as their first language
• 11.8 Million UK residents are aged 65 years and over
To create an inclusive digital platform and to break down barriers, Curve provides all website visitors with Recite Me assistive technology plugin. The Recite Me toolbar gives visitors the ability to fully customise the look of the website and ticketing platform for personal ease of use. Comprising of a number of accessibility and language features, the Recite Me toolbar includes text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling options, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and more.
Before lockdown, the Recite Me toolbar on Curve’s website supported over 800 people every month with accessibility and language support to discover new performances and book tickets online. Over a 12-month period, this equates to nearly 13,000 toolbar launches, highlighting the importance of creating an inclusive website to support everyone with online access challenges.
Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:
“We believe everyone should be able to access high-quality arts and culture, both on and off Curve’s stages. With the Recite Me toolbar available on our website, the entire online experience is more accessible and personal for every visitor. It’s brilliant to see how many people have already used these features to engage with our theatre online.”
Over 750,000 people annually engage with Curve through performances and projects in Leicester, across the UK, and internationally. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, Curve has developed a reputation for producing, programming and touring a bold and diverse programme of musicals, plays, new work, dance and opera. All of this presented alongside a dynamic mix of community engagement, artist development and learning programmes, which firmly places audiences, artists and communities at the heart of everything the theatre does.
In 2019, three Curve originated productions played in London’s West End; On Your Feet! (London Coliseum), Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical (The Ambassadors Theatre) and White Christmas (Dominion Theatre).
If you’re interested in increasing your own websites accessibility, then be sure to try out our accessibility tester.