A dedicated softly-softly performance of this year’s panto Cinderella is to be staged at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen to create a friendly and supportive atmosphere for people with complex needs and their families.
Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) and Qdos Entertainment have worked together to produce a ‘relaxed’ version of the panto on Friday, January 3, at 1pm, subduing the more extreme elements of the show such as pyrotechnics, loud noises, and strobe lighting.
Relaxed performances are specifically designed for people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorders.
They have a less formal, more supportive atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels, and there is a very relaxed attitude to noise and movement, with changes to the sound levels and lighting effects.
If you have already purchased tickets for Cinderella and think the relaxed performance would be more appropriate for your party we will happily exchange your tickets. Please contact the box office on 01224 641122 to discuss seating options.
The relaxed performance follows a request by local MSP Mark McDonald for APA (the company which runs HMT) to consider staging an autism-friendly performance of the panto, following the example of the West End production of The Lion King.
APA and Qdos Entertainment, the company behind HMT’s string of successful pantos, including Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White and this year’s production of Cinderella, worked together to set up the relaxed performance.
APA chief executive Jane Spiers said: “It’s fantastic that by making small but important adjustments we can break down barriers, open up the experience of live theatre and make it as welcoming as possible.
“We already offer audio-described, captioned and signed performances and this is part of our wider commitment to broadening access to our work and our venues.”
Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment’s pantomime division and executive producer of Cinderella said: “This unique performance will be adapted to reduce the sensory overload by keeping the houselights on throughout, reducing the overall volume and limiting certain special effects.
"We're delighted to be working alongside our HMT colleagues in presenting the first relaxed performance to be staged during the hugely-popular Aberdeen panto season.”
“I am delighted with the news that His Majesty’s Theatre will host a special performance of their pantomime this year,” said MSP Mark McDonald.
“Members of the audience will benefit greatly from specific adjustments which are made for certain performances in order to create a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
“It is important that performances are made as inclusive as possible and I am sure this will be welcomed by families throughout the North-east.”
This year’s show Cinderella stars panto queen Elaine C Smith as the Fairy Godmother and Barbara Rafferty as the Wicked Step-Mother, with Aberdeen panto favourites Jordan Young as Buttons and Alan McHugh as the Ugly Sister.
Tickets for the relaxed performance of Cinderella cost £9 plus booking fee and are available by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.