The Royal Albert Hall has commissioned a disability design student to create an accessible seat for disabled and elderly visitors.
Still in the development stage, the Netta chair features a hydraulic lifting system, integral footrest, walking stick holder and adjustable arms, allowing disabled audience members to be transferred from their wheelchairs.
London Metropolitan University student Jackie Brown is working with theatre seat manufacturer Audience Systems to produce the second prototype, which will be ready by September.
Brown intends to target several major UK theatres once the prototype is complete.
‘The seat was developed after I visited the Royal Albert Hall with an elderly neighbour,’ says Brown. ‘We were seated on one of the disabled seating platforms where we had an obscured view of the stage.
‘Although theatres are obliged to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act to make the theatres themselves accessible, the experience is often marred for disabled people by uncomfortable conditions and poor sightlines to the stage. This chair has high comfort values, and also blends in well with the regular seating.’
The chair is upholstered in the same fabric as the other seating and features an oversized black hinge for the moveable arm that doubles as a walking stick holder.
The seats are scheduled to be installed in the Royal Albert Hall by December.