Access is fundamental to Graeae’s work; we provide an inclusive working practice for artists and staff, and an accessible theatrical experience for our audiences.

Use this section for details of Graeae’s access policy, guidelines and services we offer.

Graeae and the Social Model of Disability

The social model of disability is the way in which we frame, think about, and talk about Deaf and disabled people. It is built upon the understanding that people are disabled by barriers in the world and in society, rather than by their impairments or conditions. This is why we are “disabled people” rather than “people with disabilities”; because the onus is on society to change rather than on the individual to be “cured” or “fixed”.  The social model was developed by disabled people and has its roots in activism.

The social model stands in contrast to, and defiance of, the medical model of disability. The medical model is built on the understanding that it is a person’s impairment that is the cause of their being unable to participate fully in society.

It is the difference between “I cannot meet you on the second floor because I am a wheelchair user” and “I cannot meet you on the second floor because there is no lift”, or “I cannot go to this play because I’m blind” and “I cannot go to this play because there is no audio description”, or indeed “I cannot access the news because I am deaf” and “I cannot access the news because there is no Sign Language Interpreter on screen”.

We consider the social model, and use of social model terminology, to be the most empowering way of talking about disability. It tells us that it is the responsibility of society, of leadership, and of organisations, to make adaptations, adjustments and fundamental changes to make sure that all disabled people have full equality of access.

When discussing deafness and the Deaf community, you may see both deaf and Deaf used, as well as d/Deaf. Use of a capital D usually refers to a Deaf BSL user. At the time of writing (Spring 2021), you will most commonly see the phrase deaf and hard of hearingHard of hearing refers to someone having some residual hearing, but it must not be assumed that they do not use or require signed and/or captioned access. Although deaf people are recognised as  linguistic minority, with its own cultural identity and heritage, within the social model, deaf people are disabled by social and attitudinal barriers and a lack of access within society. You can find more information about the terminology surrounding deafness by clicking here.

There are as many ways to self-identify as there are deaf or disabled people. By following the social model here at Graeae, we hope to empower, to break down barriers, and advocate for equalising access across our society.


Graeae is committed to inclusive working practice for the artists and staff with which we work, and an accessible theatrical experience for our audiences.

We achieve this through collaboration and consultation with disabled artists and staff.  For each project and working situation, we provide bespoke access solutions e.g. confirming wheelchair accessible venues for productions and workshops, coordinating the provision of access support workers and British Sign Language interpreters, or arranging adaptive technology to facilitate the creative process.

Graeae pioneered the ethos of ‘aesthetics of access’ and is committed to continued ways of evolving this artistic practice.

Access is a basic right and requirement, a continually evolving methodology that enhances the theatrical and professional landscape; accessibility enables theatre practitioners and audiences to create, engage with and enjoy our work.

Access Support

Graeae provides practical and creative access guidance including information on:

  • Access support in the creative environment
  • Code of conduct when working with D/deaf or disabled people for the first time
  • Best practice terminology
  • A list of formatted materials for our employees and audience members

For more information email

Access Consultancy

Graeae provides consultation to a wide variety of organisations and individuals on access provision and access-related queries.  We advise on access in relation to drama workshops and theatrical production, as well as employment-related issues such as Access to Work in the creative industries.

Bradbury Studios

Bradbury Studios proudly stands as the physical articulation of Graeae’s vision to create an accessible workspace.

Take a closer look at our fully accessible building using our virtual tour. Move around by using the arrow keys or clicking and dragging your mouse. Look out for the informational hotspots to view images and to find out more about our facilities.


Useful Links

To find BSL interpreters in your area go to the Association of Sign Language Interpreters.

Information about Access to work can be found at The full details are here.

Information on creating materials (print, electronic) accessible to visually impaired and blind people, from the RNIB website.

Website accessibility checking tool.

Commissioned by Arts Council England in spring 2021, check out this new series of ‘How to…’ videos for making accessible work online