Getting Relaxed…Birmingham Hippodrome’s First Relaxed Performance

Last Thursday we hosted our first-ever relaxed performance with a special show of Britain’s biggest Pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The specially tailored production was designed to accommodate patrons with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder with loud bangs, pyrotechnics, smoke and flashing lights removed from the performance.

The auditorium was also altered to accommodate extra wheelchair spaces at the front of the stalls and the house lights remained dimmed but not turned off through the duration.

We were thrilled to welcome over 700 people for this fantastic event which also saw the foyer areas transformed with extra touches such as special signage and break-out rooms including a soft play area and a sensory room featuring some wonderful interactive pieces including two passive bubble tubes kindly provided by Sensory Technology (www.senteq.co.uk).

In order to make staff easily visible to visitors, members of our Front of House team got into the spirit of the day by wearing sparkling glittery hats and handing out sensory toys to visitors during their visit.

It was such a pleasure to welcome such a warm and giving audience and we are grateful for the wonderful feedback we have received from those who joined us.

You can listen to a great interview with one of the stars of the show, Gary Wilmot about the relaxed performance on BBC WM here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this project a success, including The Big Give and The Candis Club, IMI, Grant Thornton, The Dumbreck Charity, The Thousandth Man – Richard Burns Charitable Trust, The Bishop of Birmingham Trust, George Henry Collins Trust plus many individual donors. Special mention must go to Richard Hayhow and the wonderful students from One of a Kind who worked with theatre staff by providing training and advice and were also present in the theatre foyer on the day of the event. Also to all the amazing volunteers who gave up their time on the day. Thank you!

Events such as the relaxed performance are part of our expanding Creative Programme titled Hippodrome Plus which also saw us welcome over 1,350 people to our Stageside Restaurant this weekend for a day of free family activities celebrating Chinese New Year. To find out more about Hippodrome Plus click here.

Our next Relaxed Performance for pantomime  is Jack and the Beanstalk on 29th January 2015. click here to find out more

Take a look at the image gallery below for a great selection of pictures from our first-ever relaxed performance…

Good Food Talks…

We are very pleased to announced that our menus for our Circle Restaurant, Stageside Bar & Restaurant and the Deli Bar are now on the Good Food Talks website.

Good Food Talks is a web app that allows the UK’s 1.5 million visually impaired people to access restaurant menus independently, quickly and easily in restaurants or at home.

The app has been optimised to take advantage of the many accessibility features which are built into most smartphones. These functions include text-to-speech screen readers (VoiceOver on the iPhone), colour inversion, and different ways to control the size of the print and the brightness of the screen. There is nothing to download or install, and the app works on all models of smartphone.

Happy browsing!

Click here to visit the Good Food Talks site.

Big Give Donations Set To Make a Difference…

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Just two days before The Big Give Christmas Challenge begins, Creative Learning Manager Liz Leck talks about the background behind presenting our first Relaxed Performance for children with learning disabilities.

Liz at a recent Education Workshop

Liz at a recent Education Workshop

For almost 7 years, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Creative Learning department has been working closely with many special schools in Birmingham, in conjunction with Open Theatre, to deliver long term projects for young people with learning disabilities. The aim being to develop their self-esteem, build their self-confidence and help prepare them for the transition into the adult world. Many of these young people have different learning disabilities and the majority are considered to be on the autistic spectrum.

Over this time, the importance of this work for the theatre has grown, and knowledge and expertise has been built up resulting in Birmingham Hippodrome becoming known locally as a venue with a long term commitment to and expertise in working with young people with learning disabilities. In 2012, Richard Hayhow of Open Theatre, established our first youth theatre, One of A Kind, consisting of the young people from the schools and colleges he has worked with over the years. The company meets weekly at the Hippodrome to develop their theatre skills and explore their own identities with the aim of creating theatre works to be shared with wider audiences. This core work was the main determining factor for the Hippodrome to programme its first relaxed performance, something we consider is a natural progression from the work under way at the Hippodrome.

Birmingham Hippodrome is committed to making theatre as accessible as possible for everyone and we can’t wait to put the final preparations in place ready for the performance in January. The Big Give Christmas Challenge is an online fundraising platform which will directly support the Relaxed Performance.  All donations made from 10am on Thu 5, Fri 6 or Sat 7 Dec will be doubled at no extra cost to you.   If you wish to help support this vital area of our work please visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com/biggive during the challenge period. Thank you for your support.

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