WAR HORSE to Offer Relaxed Performance, 20 September
On Saturday 20 September 2014 at 2pm the National Theatre's internationally acclaimed award-winning stage production of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse will hold a relaxed performance at the New London Theatre in association with The National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK's leading charity for people with autism and their families.
This performance of War Horse is designed for people who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with autism, sensory or communication disorders or learning disability.
The atmosphere in the auditorium will be relaxed to provide a more supportive environment, with experienced NAS volunteers and theatre staff on hand to assist patrons. Audience members will be free to come and go as they please throughout the performance and there will be designated 'chill-out' areas, in the foyer and bar area, with soft seating and activities. Lighting and sound levels will be adjusted to soften their impact and there will be a relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance. All front of house staff, cast and crew will have attended an autism awareness training session.
The National Autistic Society's Chief Executive, Mark Lever, said: "The NAS is delighted that the National Theatre has made adjustments to their production of War Horse at the New London Theatre which will minimise the impact of stage lighting and amplified music, enabling more people with autism and their families to enjoy the thrill of a live performance. Autism is a serious, lifelong disability and many people with the condition are acutely sensitive to everyday sights and sounds, which other people take for granted and are able to filter out, such as fluorescent lighting, background music or traffic noise. These can make activities such as trips to the theatre extremely frightening and stressful for them."
Chris Harper, Producer of War Horse at the New London Theatre, said 'We are absolutely delighted to be working with the National Autistic Society for this special performance of War Horse. The audience reaction to the show has been overwhelming since War Horse opened some seven years ago and we are excited about opening it up to a new audience with the help of the NAS.'
Previously the National Theatre's relaxed performances have included The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Hansel and Gretel, Romeo and Juliet, Up Down Boy and The Elephantom.
Now celebrating its seventh year on the London stage, Nick Stafford's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book continues to play to sell-out houses at the New London Theatre. War Horse, which has now been seen by over 2 million people in London and by over 5 million worldwide, is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.
War Horse received its world premiere at the National Theatre in October 2007.
War Horse is produced in the West End by the National Theatre and National Angels.