Handicap & Culture : L’accessibilité

Présentation de la saison de l'Arc (scène nationale - Le Creusot) en langue des signes française
17 Nov 2016

This year, in accordance with the Ministry of Culture ‘s study, the general inspection of cultural affairs is committed to, in collaboration with the inspection of artistic creation, establish a “situational analysis of accessibility of cultural and artistic practices to people with an handicap situation.” Many “scenes nationales” takes part in this study.

Through the disability’s important topic, we would like to highlight three points :

  1. the accessibility of disabled persons to cultural spaces and artistic projects,
  2. the specific projects initiated by the theatre team towards people with disabilities,
  3. the presence of disabled artists on stage.

The accessibility to cultural spaces constitutes the first part of this “focus”.


The accessibility of public places is obviously a major issue. In 2014 December, the 3rd national conference on disabilities sets three fundamental objectives : “build a society more open to disabled persons ; develop responses and supports adapted to everyone’s situation ; simplify their everyday life.” Due to the Law of February 11th 2005, and July 10th 2014, a significant number of public spaces is committed to make their place accessible to people with disabilities. If you need further information of accessibility’s evolution of public establishments to disabled persons, please find a detailed article through this link.

The theatres, movie theatres and others places managed by the “scenes nationales” are mostly cities’ properties. They depend sometimes on a community of municipalities, an agglomeration or a metropolis concerning the maintenance and refurbishment works.

This last ten years, ten big construction projects occurred on the 71 “scenes nationales”. They emerged thanks to different territorial collectivities and the Ministry of Culture and Communication. These works had cost about 256 millions €. For each structure, a priority was granted to the accessibility to culture for disabled persons, and also access for employees and artists to their work tools. Every pardoned or construction record lasts between 4 or 5 years (containing a survey, the call for architects proposals, the tender process, and the works).

Furthermore, numerous initiatives are in progress. It can be new arrangements, or new tools allowing the proposition of brochures written in Braille or presentation and spectacle with audio-description or using sign language.

Two examples :

For a year now, the Theatre of Angoulême makes available magneticloop amplifiers on representation’s evenings for hearing-impaired people. All along the theatre season, for deaf persons, the ticketing service is provided into sign language.

Since 2015, the Arc (“scène nationale” of “Le Creusot”) have been doing season presentation and visits of the theatre using French sign language (photography bellow).

Many “scenes nationales” offer now a program with adapted spectacles for blind persons (audio description) or deaf people (sign language).

Présentation de la saison de l'Arc (scène nationale - Le Creusot) en langue des signes française
Présentation de la saison de l'Arc (scène nationale - Le Creusot) en langue des signes française


In order to make establishments accessibility easier, partnerships with associations related to disability are essential. These collaborations enable the emergence of new ideas adapted to every disabilities.

For example, the Theatre of Angoulême has worked with the association “Accès Culture” in order to present shows using French sign language.

The Theatre of Mâcon collaborate with three organizations.

  • With the association “Valentin Haüy”, theatre visits and meetings with theatre employees to talk about cultural professions are arranged.
  • With the association “Les paralyses de France”,
  • and the psychiatric unit of Mâcon hospital, cultural projects are organized.

Next week, we will be interesting about how the “scenes nationales” teams rallied and set up specific cultural actions for disabled people (artistic practices, art awareness and meetings with artists).