Arts venues in Wales have joined forces to implement a new national scheme that aims to provide more consistent and reliable arts experiences for disabled people.

Photo of a person in a wheelchair at the theatre

Mark McQuade (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A new national disability access card scheme, Hynt, has been launched in Wales, aiming to ensure that theatres and arts centres make a consistent offer to visitors with an impairment or specific access requirement, and to their carers or personal assistants.

The venue-led initiative, backed by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW), has been developed with and by disabled people, the third sector and theatres and arts centres. It has built on the experiences of the New Theatre and Wales Millennium Centre, who have been at the forefront of developing fair and consistent access schemes in Cardiff.

Hynt’s primary aim is to remove barriers and open up cultural spaces to disabled people. Hynt cardholders, who must fulfil specific eligibility criteria, are entitled to a ticket free-of-charge for a personal assistant or carer at all theatres and arts centres participating in the scheme. The Hynt website provides information on access and the arts, including listings of all accessible performances, and up-to-date access venue information to help those with specific needs plan their visits.

The launch of the scheme coincides with publication of an Equality Guide by ACW, to give arts organisations practical ideas about how to improve equality and increase diversity in a variety of ways, from encouraging more women into senior positions to increasing representation of LGBT and black and minority ethnic people in the arts. The guide “aims to go beyond legislation and tick lists”, offering practical examples and case studies exploring ideas that arts organisations have found to work well.

Richie Turner, Council Member and Chair of Arts Council of Wales Equality Monitoring Group, said: “Our commitment to equality is fundamental to our work and over the past few years we’ve worked hard to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to attend or participate in the arts activity of their choice… We want the arts in Wales to include everyone. We know these new announcements and initiatives launched today will make the arts in Wales even more vibrant, exciting, relevant and open to all.”

Liz Hill