Best known for his work as a presenter on CBeebies, Chris will join the cast at Newcastle Theatre Royal, for its first Relaxed Performance since it became the first theatre in the UK to be awarded the Autism Access Award (AAA) from the National Autistic Society.
The well-known TV personality will host the Relaxed Performance, which is specifically designed to welcome people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder into the theatre.
Chris said: “I am thrilled to be returning to the most spectacular and hilarious of pantomimes for this year’s relaxed performance ofDick Whittington. We all enjoy laughing and joining in at Panto, well now absolutely everyone is included thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team at Newcastle Theatre Royal. The thought and care that goes into this unique performance ensures the audience feels safe and completely comfortable without destroying any of the magic – which this show has in abundance.”
The relaxed performance is designed to provide an opportunity for people who would otherwise find it difficult to go to see a show – for example people who make involuntary noise, or are likely to need to talk a lot, or move around. During a regular performance this can disturb the other audience members, and the show, but at a relaxed performance it’s expected that the auditorium will be noisy and our staff are trained to support this.
The show will have a less formal, reassuring atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels. Lighting and special effects will be slightly altered – including removing strobes and flashing lights and reducing very loud noises, however the content of the show will not be specifically changed so all the magic of pantomime is maintained.
Chief Executive, Philip Bernays, said: “We are very proud that as an AAA accredited theatre, we will once again be flying the flag for Relaxed Performances. We are one of only a handful of theatres in the UK to offer these specially tailored performances and we are delighted that by doing so, we bring the best panto in the UK to hundreds of children, families and adults who might otherwise never experience its magic. We are dedicated to making our theatre as accessible as possible and have already started taking bookings for next year’s Relaxed Performance of Cinderella too!”
Dick Whittington Relaxed Performance plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal on Tuesday 12 January at 12 noon. Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Group Bookings team on 08448 11 21 22 (all calls are charged at 7p a minute plus your phone company’s access charge, calls from mobiles may vary, please contact your operator for details) or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk