Our guest blogger this week is Alaine Powell, mother of two children on the autism spectrum and a member of our Access Forum. Alaine writes about her experience at our first ever pantomime Relaxed Performance earlier this year.
I first heard that the Hippodrome was staging a Relaxed Performance at an Autism Spectrum Disorder support group that was attended by some of the Hippodrome. As a parent of two children on the autism spectrum it’s extremely hard to find activities to suit all of the family, so when we heard about the Relaxed Performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Jan this year we had to go!!!
Our eldest child is on the autism spectrum and loves the theatre, he can’t get enough of it, but there isn’t always the opportunities to and now we finally had a show we could all attend.
We bought the tickets, received the DVD – an especially-created short preview film for families like us to see exactly what was in store – and went into preparation for attending the theatre. We arrived a little early on the day and I have to say, from the minute we walked in the door we were made to feel included. A member of staff had some spare sparkly hats (the hats were so the staff could be identified more easily). She approached the kids and asked if they would like to try one on. At one point, our middle boy started to get a bit flappy and twitchy. For once no one batted an eye lid – no tutting, no rude staring, just an amazing level of acceptance.
The show was amazing as always; the amount of thought and detail that was put in to accommodate everyone was fantastic. The captions for us were a little too wordy, but for others that will have been just right. The sensory items provided were a life saver. Our middle boy happily sat on his feet for the whole show with a twirling light up toy under his chin.
We had a fantastic day and they had less pressure to leave their world and be forced to conform and join ours. This really helped.
Would we recommend this? Hell yes
Will we be there this Jan? Most definitely
I hope all who see this can understand how vital a facility like this is for families like ours and all those who have fantastic special kids.
Thanks again Birmingham Hippodrome. Alaine
The next pantomime Relaxed Performance takes place on Friday 29 January for Jack and the Beanstalk and we have set ourselves the target of raising a total of £24,000 to make this performance even bigger and better than last year. Already grant-making trusts have donated nearly £6,500. But we still need to raise £6,000 in online donations in December, which will then be doubled.