We are really excited to have provided BSL classes this month for staff at 53two performance arts theatre and bar. 53two want to make their venue welcoming and accessible to D/deaf and hard of hearing communities, and they contacted MDC to organise BSL lessons initially for 8 of their staff, so that they can engage in basic conversation with BSL users visiting the venue. Lessons have included how to communicate in BSL to serve in the bar. Staff have been able to role play conversations in the bar itself, which has been a fun way to learn. Simon Naylor, Artistic Director at 53two, said of our tutor Jonathan:
"Jonathan is absolutely brilliant and we feel like we’re learning loads, so quickly…[it’s] one of the most rewarding and brilliant things I’ve done."
53two has recently been nominated for the National Diversity Awards for its work in making its venue inclusive and accessible to people with different requirements. This includes use of captioning and BSL for shows, audio-visual alarms and a wide range of physical adaptations to all areas of the building.
53two has recently moved into a new venue at Arch 19, Watson Street (M3 4LP). The building, which is in the historic arches under Manchester Central, is currently being re-furbished and 53two plans to open the bar area to the public again on 30 May. It’s just a 2-minute walk from Deansgate Metrolink station, and there is parking nearby. Opening hours are Sunday–Wednesday 11am to 11pm; Thursday 11am to 12am; Fridays, Saturdays and Bank Holidays: 11am to 1am. Why not make a visit to 53two sometime soon to have a coffee or a drink in the bar and say hello? Staff will be delighted to welcome you and practice their new BSL skills!
The theatre space will opening to the public again later this year. Making sure that theatre is for everyone is at the heart of everything that 53two does, and tickets will be available for £2 for people who are unwaged or otherwise struggling financially.
Keep an eye open on our social media for BSL accessible performance events!