Are you sitting comfortably? | Sofie Hagen persuades theatres to help fat customers with seat sizes

Are you sitting comfortably?

Sofie Hagen persuades theatres to help fat customers with seat sizes

Theatres have begun telling ticket-holders about the width of their seats following a campaign by comedian Sofie Hagen.

The stand-up, who fights for for more acceptance of fat people, said that on her forthcoming tour she would only play venues that put ‘fat accessibility information’ on their websites permanently.

Posting on Twitter, she said they all agreed to that request, and included a montage from various websites showing the policy in action.

‘This should make it just a bit less stressful for fat people to attend the show,’ Hagen added.

Her new tour, Fat Jokes, tackles fatphobia and kicks off at the Tiverton Community Arts Theatre on Wednesday.

Venues posting the information include The Leadmill in Sheffield which tells customers: ‘We are a venue that works to be as inclusive and diverse as possible – whilst always promoting equality. Our seats are roughly 41cm in width and have no arm rests.’

The Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry also says its seats are 41cm wide but fixed arm rests and the 19th Century City Varieties Hall in Leeds said its standard seats were 46cm wide with side-stall seats 48cm wider.

In Hackney, East London. the EartH theatre says it hsa ‘The EartH Theatre has unallocated wooden seating that is 20cm high and 65cm deep.’

For comparison, EasyJet seats are 44cm wides.

Hagen had previously complained onTwitter about the ‘frustration of trying to find out if a theatre is accessible for fat people’, adding: ‘Websites mention wheelchair access, people who are hard of hearing, people with autism and seat review sites mention legroom and view. Just put your seat width on your website.

‘And when you call the theatre to ask, they're often completely flabbergasted. Once I was just told that no, there was nothing that could be done to accommodate my body.

’The amount of times I've gone to see a musical only to be in constant, excruciating pain. I've left shows with backpain. Once I had to leave before the show even started because the seat was TOO narrow.

‘All I'm asking is for information to be put on websites. I'm not even asking for actual accessible seating. I'm not asking for discounts. Just for someone to go measure the chairs and put that number on the website. It feels like less than the bare minimum.’

Hagen previously wrote the book Happy Fat about finding self-acceptance of her body ‘in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife’. 

» Sofie Hagen: Fat Jokes review and tour dates

Published: 3 Sep 2022

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