Entertainment is one of those things that could be considered a privilege and not necessarily a right away. By all accounts, it is defined as being an amusing diversion or pastime that holds one’s attention in a pleasing manner. When thought of within this context it clearly brings to mind an ole-time saying that purports one must work before play. Suggesting that participating in or attending various modes of entertainment are to be earned. Fair enough, albeit that line of thinking doesn’t fit well with today’s generation or way of life.

Entertainment of itself has become a large financially generating industry. That would indicate that ‘playtime’ has evolved and is indeed a marketable product. A product, whether it is theatre, music, sports, geared to the hobbyist, etc. should be accessible for any consumer who can afford to indulge. Then again, that is an idealistic perspective, because truth-be-told, I know better. There are countless places where I just cannot get in the door because of my need for a stair-free environment.

Clearly a lot of thought about universal design is being included with newer entertainment venues but given the link to preserving the heritage structures of many theatres, for example, one can not take for granted that acceptable modes of access will be provided. It’s difficult to not feel the sting of exclusion when a performer(s) is performing at a venue that is not freely accessible.

Nonetheless, although such situations arise from time to time it is important to acknowledge the wealth of opportunities that do exist for people with various abilities. In fact, many theatre houses now go beyond the structural access and include infrared hearing technology to increase the enjoyment of hearing-impaired patrons. Now that’s progress.

Discovering the options available for various entertainment offerings are easy enough to locate now thanks to the Internet, but even so, it is still important to actually check with venues directly to ascertain whether your specific access needs can be accommodated. However, even with that said there are no guarantees because to date a level of accessible standards have yet to be introduced and enforced.

Next to actually going there yourself, this is where online network communities excel. Whatever your entertainment fancy, music, sports, and the like there is likely to be a chat forum alive and well, so simply do a bit of cyber surfing before venturing on and about, but all means get out and about.



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Access is a right
...not a privilege

Access by definition means right of entry. Now that you know a little bit about my access needs, use me as a benchmark. Look around and ask, how accessible is this building, venue, home, office, city, town, country – could Susan and others with disabilities enter with ease?

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