Smock Alley Theatre
Lower Exchange Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Smock Alley Theatre is a gorgeous theatre space with four spaces (Boys School, Main Space, Black Box, Banquet Hall) for hire. From the outside, the building looks like it’s not wheelchair accessible but thanks to the help of the staff (who I will refer to as the Smock Alley Angels) and some sneaky entrances, you can access all four of the venues.
What has it got?
Seating: In each of the venues, seats can be removed so wheelchairs can fit in. In the Main Space, they have benches in bleacher-like seats with no arm rests. The Boys School has tradition school benches and in the Black Box Theatre, they have moveable chairs. The Banquet Hall changes depending on the event.
Doors: The doors are all very wide but some might be a bit heavy to push open. The Smock Alley Angels are around to grab any doors for you.
Ground: There’s a mixture of stone, wooden and lino flooring across this venue. When you enter via the ground floor, it’s mostly stone and lino floors so they won’t be slippy if it’s wet outside.
Stairs: Smock Alley has no lift but there’s an entrance on the right hand side at the Boys School with a temporary wooden ramp that the Angels pop out for such times, as there’s a big step up to it. Inside, there’s a walkway around the Boys School that brings you up to the foyer, bar and then up to the Banquet Hall. Access to the Black Box and the Main Venue is available through a flat side entrance on the left hand side of the building.
Bathrooms: The wheelchair bathrooms are located by the Main Space and out through the Black Box. If you are in the Boys School, you will have to get down to either of those venues to use the bathroom.
Spaciousness: There is plenty of space here and if you are in a wheelchair, you will have a space with the best view.
Helpfulness of Staff: The Smock Alley Angels are incredibly helpful and will be there to assist as much as you need. When you are booking your ticket, phone the venue and tell them that you will need assistance and they will be there every step of the way. If you are picking up your tickets, they are in the foyer so you will have to ring ahead or send a friend up the front steps. Every time I’ve gone to Smock Alley, one of the Angels has spotted me so I am never left stranded.
Parking: There’s wheelchair parking available around the corner on Fishamble Street.
Why did it lose points? Smock Alley Theatre is a protected building so they cannot change the infrastructure of the building to make it accessible but they have managed to work with what they have. You can access each of the venues and can be guaranteed a good view. The only pain is if you’re in the Boys School and need to use the bathroom, you have to go a long way around but at least there is a way to do it. If you have any more questions, the Smock Alley Angels are very obliging.