What’s it like to be an Access Ambassador at Shakespeare’s Globe?
Our Volunteers share their personal experiences of championing accessibility
Our Access Ambassadors at the Globe are Volunteers who take further training to help in welcoming, assisting and ushering deaf, disabled and neurodiverse patrons to our Bankside home.
We have four types of Access shows: British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreted, Captioned, Audio Described and Relaxed, with the aim being to have at least one Access Ambassador championing each area for every production in a season. As part of the training, Access Ambassadors learn the best ways to help visually impaired, deaf and autistic patrons, as well as hearing from neurodivergent speakers – talking about their experiences with Tourette’s syndrome – and wheelchair users.
Each Access Ambassador has various duties and responsibilities. For Audio Described shows, an Ambassador may first meet patrons a couple of hours before a show if a Touch Tour is being provided. Touch Tours offers our visually impaired guests time to go onto the stage, touch props and costumes and chat with actors about their characters. In other roles, an Access Ambassador’s first contact will be during the incoming, during which the Ambassador will meet and greet patrons, as well as assessing any needs or requirements for the access patron (which can vary considerably, meaning that no assumptions are made). Requests can include food and drink purchases, café visits, locating Access toilets, and acquiring a cushion, blanket or programme – all before seating the patrons (perhaps using the backstage lift to transfer to one of the upper galleries). Naturally, this creates a special rapport between Access Ambassadors and patrons which isn’t possible in the usual stewarding shift. During this time, Ambassadors frequently provide anecdotes about the history of the theatre for those interested, as well as making any supplementary arrangements for patrons for the interval and the end of the show. There may even be two, three or more parties all requiring this assistance at the same time, not to mention the occasional guide dog!
For our Volunteers at the Globe, some of their best shifts have been as Access Ambassadors. The enthusiasm, gratitude and joy that our patrons have for this personal service is beyond amazing, and Ambassadors have an immense feeling of satisfaction in enabling all patrons to enjoy their experience at the Globe to the fullest.
If you’re considering Volunteering at the Globe, why not apply to join, take the Access training and become one of our Ambassadors?
We are currently looking for new Volunteer Stewards to join the team for our Summer 2023 season, running from April to October 2023, with the opportunity to train to steward the beautiful candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and continue volunteering for our Winter 2023/24 season, opening in November 2023. We reimburse travel expenses and provide a meal to stewards who volunteer for double shifts (matinees followed by evening events).
This is an opportunity for people with enthusiasm, a friendly and polite outlook, and a desire to support an amazing theatre. If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you! Apply now.