Marlowe Theatre to Present Relaxed Performance of ALADDIN, Jan 2015
A relaxed performance is specifically designed and adapted for people with a wide range of disabilities, including those on the autistic spectrum. They are now common place at some London theatres and cinemas.
The performance, which is of Aladdin, will be less formal in order to reduce anxiety levels, for example, the auditorium doors will be kept open and customers can come and go as they please; there will be a chill-out zone in the foyer. It is the same show, but there are small changes to the sound levels and lighting, and no pyrotechnics or strobe lighting are used.
The performance provides an opportunity for customers who may find it difficult to come and see a show to experience the joy of live theatre. One such person is Jodie Mills, of Canterbury, mum to five-year-old Stanley, and Thomas, who is four and who has autism.
She is passionate about giving Thomas the same access and opportunities as Stanley and other children: "Some people are lucky enough to get that enjoyment from standard performances, but all of us are different and to have other needs considered, such as sensory and social skills, makes the difference between having that opportunity and sadly not."
Aladdin will be Jodie and Thomas's first relaxed performance and she believes they will both benefit from it: "It will be a positive experience for me - I'll be supported just by the simplicity of it being focussed around the potential and varying needs of my child.
"I'm hoping for a much more relaxed Thomas, less pressure on him to conform is just one way he'll be able to cope with his anxieties and other issues. Thomas will get the chance to enjoy something he wouldn't ordinarily be able to even try."
Theatre Director Mark Everett is delighted The Marlowe is offering its first relaxed performance: "Audio-described, signed and captioned shows are now standard for us; the former being for our blind and visually-impaired customers, the latter two for those who are Deaf or hearing-impaired.
"To be able to offer customers - especially children - with different access needs to these, their own performance, is amazing. And judging by the response we have had so far, it is one that is much needed; it is being very warmly welcomed."
The relaxed performance of Aladdin is at The Marlowe Theatre at 1pm on Tuesday 6 January, 2015. Tickets, costing £10 (booking fee applies), are from the Box Office on 01227 787787, or in person. For more information visit www.marlowetheatre.com.
Jodie, Thomas and Stanley are pictured with Aladdin star, Phil "Mister Maker" Gallagher. He said: "Relaxed performances are a wonderful idea and I'm looking forward to being part of this one - The Marlowe's first, and mine! It's another way in which as many people as possible get to enjoy the panto and be inspired by their theatrical experience."