Photo by Helen Maybanks
On Sunday 15th June at 3pm, the Royal Shakespeare Company will present a ‘relaxed performance’ of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre. The National Autistic Society is working closely with the RSC on this special performance offering full access to the theatre for people with autism and learning disabilities.
This first relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical builds on the programme of ‘relaxed’ performances that the RSC has been running in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013, when it was amongst the first to adopt and promote the concept. The performance will provide a relaxed environment, with elements of the production adapted to reduce anxiety or stress. Lighting and sound levels will be adjusted to soften their impact and there will be a relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance. Designated ‘chill-out’ areas will be provided outside the auditorium with soft seating and activities for people to use if being in the auditorium becomes overwhelming for them.
The Royal Shakespeare Company will offer tickets for this performance at the reduced rate of £20, booked through the RSC ticket hotline or in person at the box office. All bookers will be sent a visual story to help them familiarise themselves with the plot, characters and the setting before they arrive at the theatre. Detailed event and transport information will also be available from the dedicated ‘relaxed’ performance section of www.Matildathemusical.com
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society said: “Autism is a serious, lifelong disability and the challenges the condition bring can make it difficult to enjoy activities such as trips to the theatre, which many people take for granted. It’s brilliant news that the RSC will be making adjustments to Matilda The Musical so that more people with autism and their families will be able to enjoy the magic of theatre. Tim Minchin has been a fantastic supporter of ours for many years and we’re thrilled to be working with him and all the team behind the show to put on this very special performance.”
Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company said: “I am truly delighted to announce our first relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical, building on our commitment to offer the best environment and welcome for children, young people and families who might otherwise feel excluded from our work. Many families of children with autism or children with a learning disability can be reluctant to attend public theatre performances together. Relaxed performances are a fantastic way of offering a warm and inclusive welcome to those families, giving them the chance to experience high quality, live theatre, often for the first time. We are delighted to be part of the growing number of theatres across the UK helping to make relaxed performances a standard feature of British theatre-going.”
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical has captured the imagination of young and old alike. Over one million people have seen the show since it opened at The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010. 8,000 tickets have been sold at £5 as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s day seats ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds. Now booking until 21 December 2014, the production continues to play to packed houses at the Cambridge Theatre in London and in New York at the Shubert Theatre.
Sweeping the board at the 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking seven awards, Matilda The Musical has gone on to take Broadway by storm winning four Tony Awards® and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for each of the four girls sharing the title role. The show has now received a total of 49 awards in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and New York.
Matilda The Musical was commissioned by the RSC and played to sold-out audiences at the RSC’s The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for twelve weeks from November 2010 to January 2011. It transferred to London’s West End on Tuesday 25 October 2011.
The New York production of Matilda The Musical, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers, began previews on 4 March 2013 with opening night on 11 April 2013 at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.