'Relaxed' Snow White is a hit!
Relaxed Snow White is a hit! (Oh, yes it is!!!)
Today was the day for the 'relaxed' performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield and we were lucky enough to be going along.
Included in our party of seven (how apt!) were three of our children, each of whom is disabled. With impairments including autism, cerebral palsey and profound and multiple learning difficulties to name a few, pleasing our off-spring could have been a very tall order but the Pomegranate's 'relaxed' performance of this fairytale classic was a huge success!
Special features of the pantomime included a zoned off area of the bar for if things got a little too much in the auditorium and the doors were kept open throughout the performance to facilitate an easy exit should the need arise. In addition, the auditorium lighting was kept on at a low level rather than being pitch-black, alleviating the anxiety that darkness can bring for people with autism. There were head-sets available for people who were vision-impaired to enable them to hear an audio-description of the panto plus subtitles by each side of the stage for those who were deaf or hearing-impaired. Add to this the wonderfully friendly Pomegranate staff who were incredibly helpful and you had a recipe for a great afternoon out.
As for our party: well, Megan (who is severely autistic) pulled Hilary's (Gillian's mum) hair twice and pushed a very understanding gentleman as we walked back from the loo. Tom threw his drink from his wheelchair a few times and Sam was quite vocal about the production. In other words: it was a very normal afternoon for us - and a very enjoyable afternoon too with plenty of laughs and smiles from young people and adults alike.
It is widely recognised that a 'relaxed' performance is offered to meet the needs of disabled people and to alleviate some of the stresses and anxieties that a visit to the theatre can bring. What is often not recognised is that it also meets the needs of those who love and care for disabled people and reduces some of their stresses and anxieties too making for a great shared experience for all.
Our thanks go to the Pomegranate Theatre staff and Chesterfield Borough Council for going the extra mile to create such a wonderful afternoon for so many people. With further 'relaxed' performances in the pipeline we may be on our way to being regular theatre-goers!
Watch this space for details of further 'relaxed' performances or visit the Chesterfield Theatres website http://www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk/
Jane and Gillian