Written by Nancy Berg, Omaha Performing Arts patron
When I was 16, I was involved in a car accident that changed my life forever. I was riding in the backseat of a car that lost control and hit a tree. I was wearing a lap belt, and the impact caused me to break my back between the L3 and L4 vertebrae. As a result, I have an incomplete spinal cord injury, and I have had to use a wheelchair ever since.
At 16, I didn’t know what a spinal cord injury entailed. I thought that I was going to rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. Instead, I learned how to live life and do everyday tasks as a wheelchair user. Despite having a traumatic injury at a young age, I have always had a positive outlook and a drive to live the best life possible. I have learned to adapt and overcome every day obstacles.
Accessible402's Nancy Berg on the Skylink.
Since I have lived in Omaha my entire life, I decided to share my life with a spinal cord injury on Instagram. I created my Instagram account, Accessible402, last summer on the 24th anniversary of my car accident. My account features accessible and adaptive activities for wheelchair users in the Omaha metro area.
Throughout the years, I have found that businesses have little to no information regarding accessibility, so I thought that it would be nice to have a collaborative space where people with similar issues could see what is available to them.
One of my favorite things to do in Omaha is go to concerts and performances at the Orpheum Theater. The space is beautiful, and the venue is very accommodating. They do a good job providing accessibility information on their website, but here are some of my tips:
The accessible seating has a variety of price ranges, but I personally think all the seats are great. I always click on each of the seats to see how much they are because you could save yourself a significant amount of money by choosing a seat further from the main aisle.
When purchasing tickets, the companion seats are all auditorium seats. The ♿ seats are regular chairs that can be removed for a wheelchair. You buy tickets online here or call the Ticket Omaha box office at 402.345.0606 for assistance with buying tickets.
All of the wheelchair accessible seating is on the Orchestra level. You can either sit on the left or right side of the stage in the front row or in the last two rows. The last two rows are elevated, so if there are people standing in front of you during the performance, you can still see the show.
When I was seated, I did have the option to stay in my wheelchair or transfer to the companion seat. I prefer to sit in my wheelchair, but I did notice that the chair's armrest swings open to make transferring to the chair more accessible.
Park in the OPPD parking garage on Howard street between 16th and 17th streets. Bring cash with you to pay for parking. Last night, it cost $8. There are plenty of accessible parking stalls on each level. You then take the elevator to the Skylink that will take you directly to the elevator inside of the Orpheum.
This recommendation is written on the ticket, but for years, I didn't want to be stuck in a parking garage after a show. Honestly, the traffic inside of the garage moves quickly and parking in the garage beats driving around in circles downtown looking for a place to park.
For more information on accessibility at the Orpheum Theater and Holland Center, visit Omaha Performing Arts' accessibility web page.