Birmingham Theatre To Host Relaxed Performances

The theatre will run relaxed performances during three shows in their 2017/18 season.

Birmingham Hippodrome will host a number of relaxed performances during it's new season to allow patrons with special needs the chance to enjoy theatre fully.

The first will take place this week with a special relaxed performance of Dick Whittington, starring John Barrowman, Steve McFadden and Jodie Prenger, on Thursday 26th January. Kate Evans, Communications Executive for Birmingham Hippodrome, said:

"Relaxed performances are open to anyone, but are intended to cater for people with special needs who may find going to the theatre challenging - in particular people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorders.

"To help make everyone feel welcome, fewer seats are available for sale, there's increased wheelchair capacity and attendees are also welcome to walk in and out of the auditorium and make noise throughout a production.

"Certain aspects of staging are also specially adapted for the audience which include minor adjustments to the script, reduced noise levels and the use of raised house lights."

As well as performances of the theatres five-star pantomime, relaxed performances feature in the schedules of two other shows in the next 12 months. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time will host one on July 3rd and next year's pantomime, Cinderella, will do the same on January 24th 2018. Matt Slack, who plays lead roles in both this years show and next years festive offering added:

"The ‘Relaxed Performance’ is, without doubt, my favourite show of the year. It’s an event that’s very close to my heart as I have an autistic nephew and know just how tough it can be for families visiting the theatre at Christmas time, who may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable within a traditional theatre setting.

"With a Relaxed Performance, everyone is made to feel welcome – it’s a very special atmosphere and, as a performer, there’s nothing like seeing the smiling faces of families and groups sharing in that magic!"

Birmingham Hippodromes new season kicks off at the start of February, when Matthew Bourne's 'The Red Shoes' visits the main auditorium. The full-scale West End productions begin in earnest in March when the first UK tour of Billy Elliott visits Birmingham and Sheridan Smith reprises her role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl during May.

La Cage Aux Folles, Grease, The Addams Family, Miss Saigon and Hairspray are just a few of the other major shows visiting the venue in the next twelve months as well as a number of ballets including Coppelia, The Nutcracker and Cinderella, all performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet. Coppelia and Cinderella are also featuring as part of BRB's 'First Steps' programme - special, hour long adaptations of ballets to generate interest amongst younger generations.

These one-off shows will be performed on Friday 17th February and Friday 16th June.


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