The Albany

Video-based travel information

Albany staff with their Outstanding Attitude Award

The Albany is the first Arts Centre to have achieved Gold on Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice. Their walking video guide is a great example of how a venue can produce access provision at very low cost or no cost and in an innovative manner. They produced this in-house, using the skills available within the team alongside borrowed video editing programs.

What was the inspiration for this improvement?

For people with limited mobility or a visual impairment, all routes to the Albany have a variety of obstacles. We had been wrestling with the challenge of producing a simple set of directions for 18 months and getting nowhere. We needed to create clear instructions for getting to the Albany, but with so many public transport options we faced a complicated task.

After discovering that paying for an app was beyond our means, we tried different ways of representing the routes to the theatre, but it became clear that this was almost impossible on our limited budget.

Can you describe what you did?

Using a smart phone, we put in our headphones and walked to the Albany from each of the 3 nearest train stations, describing what we saw along the way. Watching the videos back we discovered that these were really simple to follow. We planned routes from the three nearest train stations with lifts by walking them through and looking for the smoothest, flattest routes with the highest number of pedestrian crossings and lowest number of obstacles.

We used shortcuts where they were wheelchair friendly, but avoided them if they were not. Once we’d recorded the routes we realised they were quite lengthy and there was a lot of background noise as we’d recorded them on a windy day. So we borrowed a computer from the Albany’s youth engagement team and had a go at editing it. We re-recorded the sound with the same smart phone and added a few captions.

Ben Stephen, Head of Production at The Albany said:

Attitude is Everything have supported us brilliantly to make practical changes to our working practices that benefit all building users. The walking guides were quick and simple to produce and reminded us that improving accessibility can sometimes just require a little thought and effort rather than a hi-tech or expensive change. Our aim for the future is to move beyond specific access issues and embrace an ‘extra live’ attitude to everything we do, where accessibility is standard for artists, audiences and visitors. We know this is ambitious but we also know Attitude is Everything will be there to support our progress.