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Schools Access at Riverside

While You're Here

Riverside Theatres is committed to providing access to quality educational arts experiences for all students and teachers. This includes students and teachers with disability and specific needs.


Access points are indicators that let you know aspects of a production or event that may provide groups with a higher level of engagement related to their needs. There are 5 access points relating to aspects of the storytelling of the production that may assist access. These are:

Language: None (LN)
No text or dialogue is used in this production

Language: Easy (LE)
The text or dialogue used in this production is limited, or simple.

Music (M):
The production has a strong music focus (rather than a focus on language)

Interactive performance (IP): The production provides a high level of audience interaction providing a less formal environment, and also requiring less ‘passive’ attention by audience members.

Visual cues (VC): The production has strong visual cues giving students a different reference point for comprehension of the narrative or subject matter other than just language.


For each production, we have also indicated the venue within the performing arts centre that the event will take place in. This is to help you understand what the experience of the venue is like – for seeing, hearing and entering the space. All the theatres use the same foyer area.

Riverside Theatre: 761 seats with around 534 seats in the stalls (ground level). This is the biggest space with a high ceiling, balcony seating, lots of red chairs and a raised stage. Shows in this venue will be the biggest and busiest. There is level seating/ wheelchair access in row P (around the middle of the stalls).

Lennox Theatre: Seats 213 people and is a large room with quite a high ceiling and with grey concrete walls, black floor and curtains. The seating is tiered and goes 10 rows back, with stair access to all but the first row (wheelchair access being available in the first row). The black allows different sets to become the focus of the space.

Raffertys Theatre: Seats 88 people and is a smaller version of Lennox Theatre.

Studio 404: Located 2 blocks away from Riverside, Studio 404 is equipped with 4 rehearsal rooms and 2 bathrooms. Level access is available by prior arrangement.


We believe it is important to ensure all students have the opportunity to participate and enjoy going to the theatre. In 2017, we are providing more specific accessible performances than ever before, including Auslan Interpreted, Audio Described and Relaxed Performances. However, if you have a group requiring any of these access options for an event other than the ones we have on offer, please let us know and we will endeavour to accommodate your request.

Level access from the streets leads to our foyer and continues into all venues. Space for wheelchairs is available in all venues, but requires booking in advance.

Our theatres are equipped with a hearing augmentation system that can be accessed through modern hearing aids. Headsets and receivers are also available for patrons who do not have hearing aids or whose hearing aids don’t work with our system. Please notify us if your group requires access to the headsets.

Audio Description is live verbal commentary at select moments in the performance and is relayed to audience members via a discreet receiver and earphone. The description communicates key visual information including action sequences, facial expressions, costumes and scenery. It provides access for patrons who are blind or have low vision. Our audio description service is generously provided by Vision Australia.

This service is provided based on demand. If you require it for your group, please indicate this on your booking form. Due to the preparation involved, a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice is required.

Held prior to a performance, these tours are designed particularly for students and teachers who are blind or vision impaired. They give students and teachers the opportunity to tour the set, props and costumes up close and in context. Tours are by prior arrangement and are particularly relevant for productions being audio described.

Some productions are selected to be interpreted using Australian Sign Language (Auslan). This provides an opportunity for students or teachers who are deaf to access the theatre show. The aural cues that are essential to the storytelling and the theatrical experience are translated into sign language. Auslan interpreters are discreetly positioned for comfortable viewing by deaf audiences.

The Auslan Interpreted Performances for 2017 are:
Horrible Harriet on Friday 24 March at 12pm
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium on Tuesday 27 June at 6:30pm

Select performances throughout the year are provided as relaxed performances. These are sensory friendly performances where the perceived ‘rules’ of theatre are modified to allow patrons with Autism and other specific needs to enjoy the performance in a safe and welcoming environment.

Modifications will differ depending on the show, but can include:

  • The house lights being dimmed, but not turned all the way down;
  • The understanding that patrons may come and go from the theatre as needed;
  • Elements of the show that might include loud noises or sudden bright lights being toned down or removed.

The Relaxed Performances for 2017 are:
Diary of a Wombat on Wednesday 22 March at 10:15am
Tetris on Wednesday 17 May at 12:30pm
The Bockety World of Henry & Bucket on Friday 15 September at 10:15am 
The Red Tree on Friday 27 October at 10am 

Social stories for each of our venues are available for download below. Social stories specific to our relaxed performances are available to download from the appropriate show pages on our website. Upon request, we may be able to provide other services other than those listed, to help make your groups visit more comfortable. These could include arranging a meet your seat or meet & greet with the cast, to allow your group time to become familiar with their surroundings. With notification, arrangements can be made for you to be seated early or near to an exit as an additional support measure.

Simply contact us with any request you might have and we’ll do our best to arrange it.

Download social stories for the theatres at Riverside here:

Riverside Social Story

Lennox Social Story

Raffertys Social Story


More information on access: Sophie Clausen, Program Coordinator – Access or 02 8839 3368