As the sun has made an appearance and spring is getting into full swing, now’s a really good time to reflect on some wonderful inclusive (and watery) events that have been happening at Seven Stories this winter.  As always we’re striving to make our programmes and facilities as accessible as possible, and have been working with some fantastic local and national organisations along the way. Read on to find out what we’ve been up to…

Image by Richard Kenworthy, © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books

Between November and February, we created and shared two brand new beautiful Sensory Adventures for the children and young people at St Oswald’s Hospice – a snowy adventure with The Snowman and The Snowdog and a beach adventure based on Baba’s Gift by Beverley and Maya NaidooMany of the children at the hospice have profound and multiple learning disabilities, so these sessions have been specially created to be experienced through all the senses and accessible to all children whatever their mobility or sensory needs.

Next up was Disabled Access Day on 11th & 12th March. We were thrilled to welcome families to enjoy two days of fun with Newcastle University Street Scientists, Early Bird Opening and our café getting involved with tasty themed treats. We also offered the Beach Adventure session to children with additional needs (including autism and PMLD) and their families, and had a brilliant time - tasting bananas & feeling peas from the market stalls, playing a giant football game and getting wrapped up in cosy blankets!


“William loved it, he joined in and he never joins in but because he could run around, he loved it.”

Audience member, Sensory Beach Adventure


Taking turns to score a goal on Disabled Access Day! Image by Richard Kenworthy, ©Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books

Not planning to end the fun there, on Saturday 25th March we had another packed day of inclusive activities on a beach theme. Bamboozle Theatre Company visited us from Leicester with their very special show Storm, which has been created for children on the autism spectrum. Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the performance took the audience on a stormy journey weaving elements from the original story into a dramatic sequence embracing the sea, ships, islands and magic. The performers were extremely skilled at including every child in the room – they sang original songs using the audience’s names and we loved how they interacted with each young person in a way that meant they could take part and felt safe.

Storm by Bamboozle Theatre – Image © Bamboozle Theatre Company


“Thank you for making my autistic son feel comfortable and welcome before the performance started to ease his anxiety, I've never seen him so excited and involved in a performance before.”

- Audience member, Storm


After the public performances, the performers – and Bamboozle’s Artistic Director Christopher Davies – stuck around to give our staff a seminar performance and fantastic training that will help us to bring stories to life in ways that include all families. Youth theatre members from Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company also joined us to think about accessible theatre-making, and we’re looking forward to working with them more in the future.

On the same day, Newcastle-based multisensory company Sensory Spaces staged a takeover in our Studio! Inspired by Storm as their starting point, they transformed the whole space into a sumptuous sensory underwater world.  Throughout the day, their creative staff made sure families had fabulous fun with resources including water play, sand pits, bubble tubes, music and ocean-themed story times – and support charity Contact a Family were on hand all day to offer advice & Makaton stories.

Families enjoyed water play as part of Sensory Spaces’ ocean-themed day! Image © Sensory Spaces

Well that’s winter tied up, but what’s to come later this year? We plan to keep working with other expert organisations, and we’re also keen to develop more of our own exciting accessible events for families to enjoy at Seven Stories. We’ll soon be introducing the new set of bespoke Sensory Backpacks for our Bears! exhibition, and in coming months we’ll be consulting with families about how to make our programme as fun and easy as possible for everyone to enjoy.

So watch this space and jump aboard our accessible ship! Everyone’s welcome - and who knows where we’ll sail together next?

Visit our accessibility pages to find out more:

Max Card holders are eligible for free entry to Seven Stories.


If you have any queries about access, or would like to discuss your family’s needs before visiting, please contact Beth Coverdale, Seven Stories Access Champion via or 0300 3301095 ext 220.