Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

National Theatre to stage relaxed performance of play about teen with Down’s syndrome

Up Down Boy The National Theatre will stage a special performance of a play about a boy with Down’s syndrome for people with learning disabilities.

The ‘Relaxed Performance’ of Up Down Boy by Myrtle Theatre Company in association with Salisbury Playhouse, will take place on Saturday September 21 September at 3pm in The Shed, the National Theatre’s temporary venue.

Specifically designed to welcome people with a learning disability, Down’s syndrome, autism or sensory and communication disorders into the theatre, Relaxed Performances give those who otherwise might feel excluded from the chance to experience live performance.

Up Down Boy was written by Sue Shields – the mother of a child with Down’s syndrome – with creative support from Catherine Johnson (writer of Mamma Mia!). The central character, Matty, is played by the writer’s own son.

The play focuses on Matty, who is off to college in an hour – but he’s left it to Mum to pack his case. She won’t miss the slamming doors, queue for the bathroom or the phone bills. But Matty is no ordinary teenager and will his mother cope without him? This honest and uplifting play was inspired by the life story of a boy with Down’s syndrome and his mother’s humorous perspective on bringing him up.

Relaxed Performances have a less formal, more supportive atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels. There is a relaxed attitude to audience noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound effects. Parts of The Shed foyer will be available as a quiet space for those who need to leave and re-enter the auditorium during the show. After the performance, the audience will have the opportunity to stay to meet the actors who will be in costume but out of character. ‘Visual stories’, which give information about the theatre and the show, will be provided to all bookers to help support their visit.

Tickets are available for £12 and can be booked online at www.theshedtheatre.co.uk or call 020 7452 3961 – lines open from 9.30am–8pm.


Picture credit: Richard Ravenport  

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