A local theatregoer who uses a scooter to get around is asking for more accessible spaces at the Charlie White Theatre.
Lindy Deas, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a scooter to get around, contacted the Mary Winspear Centre asking if more accessible spaces could be created. Deas describes herself as a theatre fan and once worked as an actor in Toronto. Currently, the 310-seat theatre has four accessible spaces in the front row.
Deas told the PNR that oftentimes, the seats are full, so she cannot go to the performances she wants to. With the large senior population in Sidney, she thinks the need for more accessible seats will only increase. Deas said other areas of the Mary Winspear Centre were accessible enough to her, but the Charlie White remained an issue.
“There’s a lot of us disabled people who don’t get a seat because there isn’t enough room,” said Deas. “I’m just getting a little frustrated.”
After contacting the theatre a few times, Deas received an email back from Philip Sutton, theatre manager at the Mary Winspear on June 1. Currently, staff could actually increase wheelchair seating from 4 to 6 if required by removing some chairs. In addition, they are considering engineering additional wheelchair seating in the front row, but it would take some time. They offered her two tickets to an upcoming performance for sharing her concerns.
When contacted by the PNR, Sutton said he wanted to hear if Deas was happy with this resolution before making further comments.
“Because we have four, I don’t see why we can’t have four more so there’s eight,” said Deas. “That gives us more of a chance to see the performances or to get to the box office when we leave.”