Museums and historic attractions offering BSL
Museum of Cardiff
The Museum of Cardiff tells our capital’s story from the earliest days, through the industrial coal boom and on to the present. It features fascinating and often very personal exhibits – musical instruments, clothes, chinaware, even weapons! Portable handheld guides are available with integrated BSL and enhanced audio description. There’s a portable audio loop too.
Cardiff Castle lets you explore from Roman times right up to the present day. There’s a towering Norman keep, ornately decorated rooms, Roman remains and wartime shelters. You can round off your trip with a stroll along the battlement or a coffee in the castle’s café. There’s a free audio guide to download to your phone which includes BSL interpretation.
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
The industrial and maritime heritage of Wales is explored here with immersive displays and all sorts of mighty machinery laid out in a state of the art exhibition space in Swansea’s bustling Maritime Quarter. BSL is available at the National Waterfront Museum in the gallery and exhibition with a BSL interpreter integrated into the video presentations.
Penmaenmawr Museum, Conwy
Penmaenmawr Museum is based in Penmaenmawr, a seaside town on the North Wales coast. The independent, community run museum is dedicated to the history of the area and preserving local heritage. The team hold community events, fascinating talks and local history walks, including some offering BSL, suitable for all the family. The museum’s gallery and coffee shop is fitted with a hearing loop. The museum’s digital info screens have a BSL option. Several volunteers at the museum are learning BSL, and would love the chance to practice. They also run free BSL introduction courses for families.
Sarah's Wales offers tour guides in Cardiff and South East Wales. She can provide walking tours and guide on board a coach, with guiding in BSL or Sign Supported English (SSE) (Approximately Level 3).
Theatres and venues offering BSL
The Hafren, Newtown, Powys
The Hafren is modern 500-seat venue hosting theatre, live music, kids’ entertainment, musicals and comedy. It has excellent disabled access and a range of performances have BSL interpretation. The booking office can recommend the best seats. There are also performances with live captioning, audio description and a high quality hearing aid loop system – headphones are available for a small fee.
Blackwood Miners’ Institute
Located in Blackwood town centre, the Blackwood Miners’ Institute traces its roots back to the boom days of the coal industry. Today the historic building with its stately stone façade hosts comedy, drama, dance and music in the 400-seat auditorium. There are headsets with a hearing loop system and an increasing number of shows offer performances with BSL. There are plans to introduce live captioning too.
Swansea Grand Theatre
Swansea Grand Theatre is a wonderfully atmospheric venue hosting drama, musicals, comedy and live music. The main theatre is spectacularly ornate with gilded galleries and plush velvet seats whilst the newer Arts Wing has a modern studio space and galleries. Many of the major productions offer BSL and audio described performances.
A curvaceously sleek new entertainment venue, Swansea Arena sits at the heart of the city’s new Copr Bay coastal park. Its huge auditorium can hold up to 3500 people but it can be cleverly partitioned to cater for several smaller events too. A number of shows have accessible performances with seats in a dedicated area for captions and BSL.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
With its glistening steel-clad exterior, the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) is a proud home for the performing arts in Wales and hosts performances including opera, musicals, theatre and comedy. Hijinx theatre company which works with artists with learning disabilities and autism is also based here. Certain performances at WMC are BSL interpreted with specific seats for the best view. Captions, subtitles for operas and sound enhancement headsets are also available. You can search shows by accessibility-need on the website.
Sherman Cymru, Cardiff
Located in the Cathays area of Cardiff, Sherman Cymru focusses on nurturing new Welsh writing and acting talent. There are two performance spaces - an auditorium seating 468 and a smaller studio for 163 people. Productions range from Shakespeare to children’s favourites like Goldilocks and gritty modern drama and LGBT theatre. Many productions are captioned and signed by a BSL interpreter. You can search performances by access requirements on the website.
BBC Cymru Wales Broadcasting Studios, Cardiff
Behind-the-scenes tours at the BBC Cymru broadcasting centre take in the huge newsroom, packed with clever technology including augmented reality and robotic cameras. You’ll also have a peek at the TV galleries and discover how BBC radio and TV programmes are created. BBC Cymru Wales has received a coveted Visit Wales gold award for the quality of its tours and a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award. These guided tours are available in BSL as well as Welsh and English. Book by calling 029 2087 8444. For more info see BBC Tours.
Events and production companies offering BSL
Pride Cymru’s Festival takes place every year in Cardiff, in June. It’s a huge celebration for the LGBT community and everyone is invited. It features music on three stages, market stalls, the parade and kids’ entertainment. The event is dedicated to the idea of inclusivity and there are lots of accessible events. Even the programme is available as a BSL video. Previous years have featured a Deaf Pride Cymru Community Space with face painting, dance workshops, BSL workshops and performances by Deaf Rave and deaf sign song performer Fletch@.
A four day festival focussed on low impact living, Green Gathering offers music, creativity and lots of community spirit. Intimate solar stages showcase legendary festival favourites, DJs and spellbinding raconteurs. A number of the Speakers' Forum talks, spoken word acts and musical performances have BSL interpretation and you can ask for a BSL volunteer to interpret at other events. It's subject to availability, so let them know in advance. Hearing aid loops are also available at the Box Offices, Speakers’ Forum and Soundscape Solar Stage.
The team at Taking Flight stage exciting theatre productions featuring deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers all together. The productions tour Wales and further afield. Alongside the productions they train people who identify as deaf or disabled for careers in theatre and theatre production. All their productions offer BSL, audio description and creative captions. For more info see the Taking Flight Theatre website.
Further information about BSL in Wales
HYNT is a new national access scheme in Wales that works with theatres and arts centres. You can apply for a membership card which allows you to bring a carer along free of charge to shows. There’s also information about venues that offer BSL and other access schemes on the HYNT website.
Generally, venues only offer BSL for certain performances – please do book in advance and call ahead to make sure.
More venues and events will be added to this list as we find out about them. If you know of any we’ve missed please let us know.