How does our Essential Companion Ticket policy work?

For selected performances there is a limited allocation of free tickets available for essential companions.

The Blackburn Empire Theatre has made a change to its Essential Companion Ticket Policy in order to create a system that is fair and accessible to all eligible customers. The new system will also help to prevent abuse of the system. The new system began on 16 October 2023 and all bookings after this date will follow this new policy, even if you have registered with us in the past.

Under the old system, customers had to provide proof of eligibility, such as a copy of their disability benefits letter. This could be difficult and time-consuming for some customers, and it also required them to share their private information with the theatre. Unfortunately, the old system has been subject to abuse and we believe this is not fair to those that have genuine accessibility needs or to the theatre which operates as a charity.

The new system is based on the Access Card, which is a nationally recognised disability card. The Access Card costs £15 to apply for, and it allows customers to access a range of benefits and discounts at attractions and venues across the UK. You can apply here

The +1 symbol on the Access Card demonstrates that the holder has a disability that makes it significantly difficult for them to access services without support from another person. This means that customers who hold an Access Card with the +1 symbol can book an essential companion ticket without having to provide any further proof of eligibility. 

The new system is fair because it is based on a nationally recognised disability card. It is also accessible because it does not require customers to share their private information with the theatre. Additionally, the new system will help to prevent abuse of the system, as it is only available to customers who hold an Access Card with the +1 symbol. The card also comes with a range of other discounts and offers with other organisations. If you are unable to obtain the Access Card for whatever reason, please complete the form and upload the requested documentation or sections of the form. We will always consider every application on a case by case basis.

The Blackburn Empire Theatre is committed to providing a fair and accessible experience for all customers. The new Essential Companion Ticket Policy is one step towards achieving this goal. To apply to join the Access register visit this page:

Please note that if you are unable to obtain an Access card for any reason, you can also complete the application form and upload alternative proof.

Available to those with the Access Card with the “+1” symbol or are in receipt of the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (care or mobility component), the higher rate of Attendance Allowance, the enhanced rate of the Personal Independence Payment (daily living or mobility component), the Armed Forces Independence Payment or for those who hold a Certificate of Visual Impairment or are registered blind.

Available to those in receipt of the middle rate the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the lower rate of Attendance Allowance or the standard rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment.

We regret that if you, or the relevant member of your party, are receiving any other form of benefit than those listed you do not qualify for this scheme and so will not be eligible for complimentary / reduced price tickets. We do not accept any other forms of proof of receipt of benefits. Please note that membership of the Access Register lasts up to three years (depending on the expiry date of your card) or 12 months for those submitting other forms of evidence. Please note there are a limited number of free carer tickets per show or may not be available in some cases. We will always consider every application on a case by case basis.

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