Access and Environmental Consciousness at the Trust

One of the first things I found myself amazed with at the Trust is the level of consciousness regarding the inclusion of people with a variety of needs and care for the environment.
The Trust has taken great steps to make Shakespeare accessible to everyone. Some of these steps are hearing loops systems included, free admission for carers on all Trust sites, the Quiet Area installed in the garden at New Place for those who want less sensory stimulation, Widget guides of all sites for individuals who have difficulty understanding text, and a vast amount of other permanent features cater to individual’s needs and allow them to experience Shakespeare in their own way. There are also programs like the therapeutic use of farming and horticultural work through Care Farming at Mary Arden’s Farm, and Makaton Mondays, a weekly program that spreads the use of the symbol and sign system, Makaton, as a form of communication that can support speech. This work is so important because it means that can Shakespeare become part of the lives of a wider and more diverse audience.

Goat at Mary Arden's Farm

(Caring for goats. Healing for all.)

Not only has the Trust already put forth many resources and opportunities, they are so receptive to suggestions and developing new ideas. When I noticed that the RSC production recordings in the Archives don’t have subtitles or closed captions, I brought it up to the staff members in the Reading Room. They immediately began working to make a change and are even allowing me to assist them as a part of my research!

Macbeth 1976 (Cocks G7)

(Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in the 1976 RSC production of Macbeth.)

The Trust also places emphasis on environmental consciousness through a recently implemented green initiative. This includes things like using less plastic and sourcing food sold in the cafes from Mary Arden’s Farm.

022Halls Croft

(Afternoon tea at Hall’s Croft, mother nature thanks you. )

I think this is absolutely amazing because earth-friendly practices aren’t really necessarily intrinsically related to spreading the works of Shakespeare, but they’re an important thing to do in general. How refreshing to see them exemplify that you don’t have to be an organisation whose primary objectives are caring for the environment to prioritise respect for and conservation of our earth.

~ Grace Lester

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