Disabled arts scheme: Buying tickets 'shouldn't be a performance'

Details of an innovative pilot to improve the experience of disabled people going to theatres, concerts and festivals will be unveiled on Tuesday.

It includes the right to a free companion ticket for anyone who needs support from another person to attend an event.

There has been concern over a lack of consistency in pricing such tickets.

The scheme will be up and running next year, BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme has revealed.

Last year, the show reported that the pilot had been delayed by two years.

But Arts Council England has now announced more details on the scheme, including its new name - All In - and how disabled people, and venues, can get involved.

Participation is not mandatory, but creative and cultural organisations that want to take part can visit the pilot website to register their interest from Tuesday.

Andrew Miller, who is the UK's Arts Access Champion, said buying tickets "shouldn't be a performance".

He told Front Row that he had recently tried to book a ticket for a West End show.

"The whole process took a week and about three hours of my time. If I was not disabled, I could have done it in five minutes."

He said he wanted the scheme "to fundamentally improve the experience of D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people attending arts and cultural events across the UK through barrier removal, making it easier to book tickets and to offer consistency".

It will improve the way access requirements are shared, making it easier to book tickets, and provide training and support to help venues improve their accessibility.

The website also features a support directory for organisations to find accessibility consultants, freelancers, and organisations from around the UK.

While several schemes already exist, including the Access Card and CEA card, the user has to pay to join, whereas the All In pilot is free (the plan is for the participating venues to pay a subscription).

All In is a partnership between Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Creative Scotland and will apply to museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, performing arts venues and festivals.

It follows the success of Hynt, Wales's access scheme for theatres and arts centres.

A new report, funded by Arts Council England, found that Hynt has led to a decade of increased accessibility for cultural events in Wales.

Front Row airs at 19:15 BST from Mon-Thurs on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.