Over twenty members of staff working at The Dukes theatre in Lancaster attended the training to gain an insight into the relevance and value of Equality and Diversity.
The in-house training sessions were delivered by national award winning and workplace training and consultancy company, HearFirst.
The aim of the training was to inform staff about the importance of Equality and Diversity, what the Equality Act is and the benefits to organisations and employees. It also increased their understanding of their responsibilities under the legislation and help widen the appeal of The Dukes to a diverse audience.
Jane Twyman, Front of House Manager at The Dukes, said: “We already have an assisted hearing system and offer both BSL interpreted performances and audio described performance for all our own shows but there is so much more we can do.
“I want to broaden our appeal, make sure that everyone knows The Dukes is somewhere they can visit and feel at home. Our existing customers rate us very highly on customer care but there are many local people in Lancashire who have not set foot in The Dukes and we want to change that.”
The half-day sessions were facilitated and delivered by HearFirst tutors who are deaf themselves. The purpose of this is to add relevance and depth to the training and Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “This training is a really good example of how Equality and Diversity training can be themed and tailored to promote or challenge thoughts, which can help an organisation grow.
“In this case, the theme was widening audience appeal. Not only did participants learn more about Equality legislation and diversity in general but there was additional quality time to explore what a diverse audience is and what barriers both staff and visitors might have when they meet.
“The session ended on a positive note with lots of new ideas around meeting needs of diverse audiences together with personal pledges from individuals.”
The Dukes is a professional producing theatre which also shows mainstream and cultural cinema screenings. Feedback from those who attended the course was very positive with most identified areas where they felt the organisation could make changes as a result of the training.
One delegate said: “It will allow us to keep up awareness and continue training with a view to making The Dukes welcoming and accessible.” Another delegate said: “It will allow us to take more time to think about diversity and equality issues, review facilities and programming.”
HearFirst provides a full range of equality & diversity training courses to organisations across the UK. For more information on Deaf, disability awareness and BSL training, please contact Julie at HearFirst on 01706 872 816 or visit www.hearfirst.org.uk