As the Rolling Stones said ‘Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.’ They could have added it is now ‘Hello, Purple Tuesday’ and instead of some geriatric old boy who should know better strutting his stuff – no, not me – on 12th November we have the very great pleasure of an informal performance by Bibi Heal, a star of Opera North to look forward to at Victoria Leeds along with other special events. Don’t worry, you don’t have to don the posh frock and tiara, you just need to turn up from 11.30am and enjoy. 

Purple Tuesday is an international event to highlight to the commercial community the value in making their businesses more accessible to disabled people, whose annual spend along with their families is an amazing £249billion in the UK alone. This has become known as the Purple Pound and the event is to improve the awareness of the value and needs of disabled customers. Hats off to Victoria Leeds for arranging  a number of ways in which this can be done. There is a yoga session in aid of Breast Cancer Haven and a Sensory Unit run by Guide Dogs Leeds which gives people with normal vision the experience of being blind or partially sighted. 

Let’s get back to the opera which is so informal that you can do just as I have and come and go as you please. There are no rules as to how you watch either so rock up and experience the talents of this amazing singer. It is not all Grand Opera because, as well as favourite arias, she will be performing a selection of Parisian café songs accompanied on the accordion by Miloš Milivojević. I can see there being a run on take-away croissants and coffee. Cul-de-sac, Rodney, cul-de-sac.
Alice Gilmour, Opera North Access Officer said ‘We’re planning on keeping the event as relaxed as possible to ensure it feels particularly welcoming for people living with dementia, and for those with learning disabilities, movement disorders, autistic spectrum disorder or other neurological conditions, as well as their companions.’

Jo Coburn, General Manager at Victoria Leeds added ‘Victoria Leeds is passionate about making a positive impact in the community and we’re committed to enhancing our shopping experience to ensure that this can be enjoyed by everyone.’

Opera North are also ‘walking the walk’ by striving to make its work accessible in the theatre, they have already put on a dementia friendly performance of their current production of La Bohème and have regular captioned, signed, and audio described performances.
For more details on all the above please visit:-

www.victorialeeds.co.uk.

www.operanorth.co.uk/access/

Why not pop along to support this event on Tuesday 12th November as it is open to absolutely everyone.

Please remember that no matter what colour day it is, NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE. 

Feature photograph Bibi Heal taken by Amy Charles

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