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Theatres stage 'relaxed' performances of pantomimes in Wolverhampton, Telford and Birmingham

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

As I’ve said on many occasions, I’m a great believer that theatre is suitable for everyone.

Theatres stage 'relaxed' performances of pantomimes

However, it’s often an experience that those with disabilities and learning difficulties miss out on because of the constraints of space required for wheelchair users, behaviour issues, and aversion to loud noises and bright lights.

All these are issues for those with physical disabilities and conditions such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome and other special needs.

But panto is the perfect opportunity for local theatres to ensure everyone has the chance to join in the fun and so several venues across the region are now offering relaxed performances of their festive favourites.

These shows see loud noises reduced to a minimum, bright lights dimmed, the house lights across the auditorium raised so that if anyone wishes to walk in and out or around, they can do so safely.

In addition, the venues are offering calm spaces and sensory rooms for those seeking a little down time.

I’ve attended a couple of these performances at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in recent years and spoken to some of the parents and carers of the children who attend. They love it! Not only does it offer the youngsters the chance to have fun in surroundings that they are comfortable in, but it also makes them feel included.

These performances are not only for children though. Adults of all ages are welcome to come along.

The theatre staff are on hand to help with seating and any other requests the audience members may have and everything moves at a pace the visitors are comfortable with.

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The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is holding their relaxed performance of Sleeping Beauty, which stars Debbie McGee, Doreen Tipton and Sooty on January 10. Visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk or call 01902 429212 for tickets.

At the Birmingham Hippodrome, you can catch their relaxed performance of Peter Pan, starring Jimmy Osmond, Meera Syal and Matt Slack on January 23. This theatre is urging people to dig deep during their annual festive fundraising campaign in order to raise £20,000 to support relaxed performances across the year. To achieve this ambitious target, the theatre has joined The Big Give’s #ChristmasChallenge18, which will see all donations made between during November 27-December 4 doubled. Visit www.brumhippodrome.com to book.

At Oakengates Theatre in Telford, there is a relaxed performance of Cinderella on January 5, as well as a British Sign Language signed performance on December 28. Visit www.theplacetelford.com or call 01952 382382 to book.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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