The 2003 ADAPT Trust Awards for Excellence in Access have recognised the efforts of sixteen arts organisations across the UK in creating access for disabled people as audiences, participants and as employees.

Two theatres, Chicken Shed Theatre and Hampstead Theatre, share the Barry Foster Memorial Award which was initiated this year in recognition of the former Patron of the ADAPT Trust who died in 2002. However, the achievements of both organisations in creating access are currently being over-shadowed by their financial difficulties. Chicken Shed, which describes itself as the National Centre for Inclusive Theatre and celebrates its 30th birthday next year, is to cease productions for six months after Christmas and will lose 14 posts, including four permanent members of staff, whilst it attempts to recover an estimated £200,000 deficit. Chief Executive John Bull said: “Our main source of income is trusts and foundations, but because of the current economic climate the money we receive from them is down by 25 per cent. We receive no grants or subsidies and the only other revenue is from individual donations and fundraising.” Hampstead Theatre, which received £9.8m of Lottery cash to replace its former 40 year-old temporary structure, is appealing to Arts Council England for an estimated £500,000 to see it through a cash crisis. The new theatre was, along with Laban, FACT and Sage Gateshead, among the first to receive major Lottery grants in recognition of their potential contribution towards the regeneration of inner city areas, and it was seen at the time as an important catalyst for a major redevelopment of the Swiss Cottage area by Camden Council. The new funding package is now sought to secure the future of the £15.7m building for the next few years.

Winners of the other main access awards, funded by the Adapt Trust and the John S Cohen Foundation, include two Dundee-based venues. Both Dundee Contemporary Arts and The Space (pictured) at Dundee College, received awards, the architects of The Space having recently won the Access category in the annual awards of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Manchester Art Gallery, Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, York Theatre Royal, FACT, the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s Church and the National Centre for Early Music were also among the winners.