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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shame on the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

On Monday night we went to the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House to listen to music by Nico Muhly (see my next blog post). It was a special occasion - a belated birthday present, and part of a rare weekend in Sydney soaking up bits of culture.
As readers of this blog will know, I am still handicapped somewhat from Transverse Myelitis contracted over 2 years ago. Effectively this means I can walk, but not great distances; I can climb stairs as I do the 17 at my home in Brisbane. Anyway, we caught a cab from the hotel, and the very kind cabbie dropped us really close to the entrance to the Concert Hall. No lifts working! Apparently there is a lift that can carry handicapped people to the first floor, but it was not working on Monday. So, 3 flights of 14 stairs to manage. Well the tickets had been expensive at $90 each, so I was not going to miss out. At the first floor, I was faced with more stairs to get to the third floor where we had seats in Box B. Not just a few stairs, but another 50 or so. What do you do? You take one step at a time.
Of course after the performance, we had the serious problem of coming back down the stairs. OK, a serious challenge, and holding the handrail and Jan's hand, I managed. Actually there was no bloody choice.

It is a public shame. When I booked the tickets, I did not know there were no facilities for handicapped people. How can a great facility like the Sydney Opera House not have facilities for handicapped people? How can a public utility in a great city in 2012 be allowed not to have suitable facilities? Does anywhere advertise "We have a great performance by world class performers, at vast cost; oh, by the way if you are handicapped or in a wheelchair, don't bother to apply!'
Shame on the Opera House. Shame on Sydney.

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