Never thought too much of the State Theatre, until today. I went in for a show for the first time and it was nothing short of a spectacularly arranged collection of art, class and sheer opulence. Accessibility? Mmmm barely! Good enough to go in and see a show but that's about all.
The State Theatre is situated right next to Centre Point tower in Sydney. It’s easy to get to by all modes of transport, with trains and buses being the closest and most accessible.
There is a very straight forward booking process, either online or via telephone [02 9267 3234]. What’s great is they give you the option to stay in the chair or transfer out. Very simple.
There are no concession tickets, but they will remove two standard seats for each wheelchair spot.
Before you know it, the big night is upon us!
As soon as you walk in, you will be stunned by how breathtakingly beautiful the architecture and furnishing is, the colour, the style, the details... You can't wait to go around and explore more!
Here is the problem, not much of the complex is accessible. There are 3 levels of viewing areas, 'dress circle' close to the stage, 'mezzanine' half way up and small, then 'stall', the biggest seating area up the top.
Only the mezzanine level can be reached by wheelchair users. Even then, it’s only via an unstable removable ramp that's not supervised by staff at all times. Upper and lower levels are through these beautifully crafted spiral staircases. Sorry it’s a heritage listed building, no lift!
Once in the seating area, the mezzanine level is not too bad. The back row has a dozen or so removable seats that can be taken off and converted into wheelchair spaces. So you could sit with the crowd.
Or, if you wish, you and your friends could sit a couple of meters back against the wall on these big beautiful high back chairs.
They are spaced so that wheelchairs could be positioned on each side, and there are also the odd coffee tables available for use. Comfort and style wise it is an upgrade, but you will be further from the stage, as the mezzanine has a low ceiling, your view will be marginally compromised.
Toilet is a sure let down. There are no disable toilets at all.
The closest disable toilet is in the hotel next door called the QT hotel:
You have to come out of the theatre, 2 meters to the left there's the hotel door
Go in there and you’ll find an arcade, not a lobby
On the left, there are some lifts, go up to level 1
Come out of the lift, you are in hotel lobby, turn left
The disabled toilet is not far up the corridor on your left
There, you've found it!
It's an awesomely set up disabled toilet with most things you'll need including a full length mirror to adjust your attire on your night out and a panic button for emergency. Of course, you are across the road from Pitt St mall Westfield where there are many good disabled facilities including an adult changing table. If it all of that sounds too complicated to navigate, or you already had one too many champagnes, one of the theatre's friendly staff is always happy to chaperone you to the nearest toilet, wait for you, then bring you back.
It's a pity the front section seats are not available for wheelchairs, but they are doing what they could to make the theatre wheelchair accessible.
A workable setup, a beautiful place, and you'll have a great time watching shows and hanging out with friends, 3/5 for wheelchair users.