Feminist campaigners criticise London theatre's 'gender neutral' loos for reducing women's access

Toilet changes that formed part of a major refurbishment at the Old Vic in London have come under fire from feminist campaigners (Picture: PA)

A London theatre has come under fire for changes to its toilets that feminist campaigners claim have reduced the number of ladies’ loos.

The Old Vic introduced gender-neutral toilets as part of a major refurbishment that it said were aimed at making the venue “reflective of the needs of today’s audiences and our local community”.

The move saw signs on ladies’ and men’s toilets at the historic theatre replaced with pictures of cubicles or urinals, allowing people to “make their own decision about which loo is suitable for them”.

But feminist campaigners say the refurbishment has actually reduced the number of toilets accessible to women.

Hitting out at the changes, journalist and activist Caroline Criado Perez tweeted: “So @oldvictheatre has refurbished their toilets, and ended up giving men 18 facilities practically speaking just for them, plus 24 they share with women. So that’s 42 men have access to.

“Meanwhile women have access to 24, that they share with men. This is an improvement how?”

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The transformation of the Old Vic, overseen by Matthew Warchus, who took over from Kevin Spacey in 2015, was said to include doubling the number of women's toilets and improving disabled access.

The renovation of the 201-year-old building also included an accessible box office and a lift down to the subterranean Penny cafe and bar, which sports a new menu with a focus on sustainability.

Ms Criado Perez added that she remembered being pleased that there were set to be more ladies toilets, writing: “And...yep. They did not specify that there wd in fact be no ladies loos at all.”

Another Twitter user added: “Fundraising for additional female toilets and then spending the money on improving male facilities while reducing female capacity (per head) is disgraceful and possibly illegal - who is responsible for this decision?”

Ms Criado Perez also shared a tweet from another user, which showed a

Another Twitter user shared a picture of toilets at Ground Control in Paris (https://groundcontrolparis.com) has only female and all gender restrooms (each with about 5 stalls each). So men have access to 5 stalls and women have access to 10 stalls.

Yahoo News UK has contacted the Old Vic for comment.

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