On Wednesday 19th December – the first relaxed performance of Aladdin took place at Towngate Theatre Basildon and was a huge success.
Earlier this year in October, UK Autism Charity Anna Kennedy Online hosted the legendary show Autism’s Got Talent together with the Avery family, who are the Charity Champions of Essex.
Together with founder Anna Kennedy OBE and the Avery family have been working with the Theatre to work together to ensure that reasonable adjustments were made.
“Many aspects of a standard theatre experience can cause difficulties for autistic people. Busy foyers, unexpected music, lights going up and down, pyrotechnics and applause can all be unsettling for some children and adults.
Even the interval can confuse individuals on the spectrum because it seems strange to leave the auditorium in the middle of an event. During a relaxed performance, the house lights will often stay on during the show and families will be warned when to expect loud noises. For anyone overwhelmed during the performance, a “chill out” area will be provided.
In a number of the venues across the country, the show can be followed via speakers or a screen so that the audience is not disoriented by a disjointed story upon re-entering the auditorium. There are also pre-show walks around the theatre and a couple of the performers will introduce themselves on stage so individuals become familiar with the characters.“
Aston Every Autism Ambassador for the charity, the Mayor of Basildon and Anna spoke to a couple of the performers behind stage after the show to thank them for giving families such a wonderful time. Performers shared ‘ It was a special experience for them since the house lights being on they could see the children’s expression and excitement.
Two performers Simon Fielding and Sophie Ladds were outstanding and the theatre have indicated that the relaxed performance will happen again next year.
Anna Kennedy OBE would like to thank the theatre for giving the audience free tickets and for making this event so special .
Anna Kennedy OBE