Bromley's Churchill Theatre to hold relaxed Peter Pan performance for autistic children

News Shopper: Cast members Gemma Hunt, Jennifer Ellison and Andrew Agnew are fully behind the relaxed performance. Cast members Gemma Hunt, Jennifer Ellison and Andrew Agnew are fully behind the relaxed performance.

THE Churchill Theatre in Bromley is holding its first ever relaxed performance.

The special version of Christmas pantomime Peter Pan is aimed at families with children who have an autistic spectrum condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning disability.

The Churchill is part of the Ambassador Theatre Group and the event is the first of a relaxed performance pilot scheme the group is running for the 2012-2013 panto season.

Creative learning manager Kiaran Hall said: “No pun intended I am quite relaxed about it.

“It’s quite a thing for families with children who have autism to come along to a theatre because it can be quite intimidating.

“We are trying to break down barriers and the cast have been fantastic and really supportive.”

Groups from Riverside School in St Paul's Cray and Bromley Mencap are already booked in for the performance.

Ms Hall added: “It can be really stressful for families and they may just take the decision not to go out because it’s just not worth it.

“They can’t always have regular outings and this is an opportunity for them to do that.

“Hopefully this is the start of a regular programme of relaxed performances at the Churchill Theatre.”

Theatre-goers will be sent a visual story including detailed information and photos and will be invited to attend a familiarisation meeting in the theatre.

The overall content of the show will not change but there will be a designated chill-out area for use during the performance which will have a monitor relaying what is happening on stage.

There will also be adjustments to lighting and sound cues and a more relaxed attitude to noise in the auditorium to reduce anxiety.

The relaxed performance starts at 1.30pm on Wednesday, December 5 and for those with hearing difficulties there will be a captioned performance on Sunday, December 9 at 5pm and a signed performance on Sunday, December 30.

Peter Pan stars Jennifer Ellison of ‘Dancing On Ice’ fame as Peter Pan, ‘EastEnders’’ Ace Bhatti as Captain Hook, Andrew Agnew who plays PC Plum in children’s TV favourite Balamory as Smee and CBBC presenter Gemma Hunt as Tinker Bell.

The show runs from Friday, November 30, 2012 to Sunday, January 6, 2013 with tickets ranging from £15 to £26 available by calling 0844 871 7620 or visiting atgtickets.com/bromley

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