Its first two relaxed performances – where elements of the production are adapted to reduce anxiety or stress for people with learning disabilities or autism – at the Cambridge Theatre were sold out. The National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects will again work with the RSC, offering full access to the theatre for people with learning disabilities.
Catherine Mallyon, executive director of the RSC, said: "We hope that everyone feels welcome at our theatres and our productions. Following the success of our first two relaxed performances of Matilda The Musical, we are so pleased to offer a third to people with autism and learning disabilities and their families, recognising that it isn’t always easy to all come out together.
"The National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects have provided valuable support and I am delighted that relaxed performances are now a regular feature of our programme."
The RSC has been running relaxed performances in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013. In a relaxed performance, lighting and sound levels are adjusted to soften their impact and there is a different approach to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance. Designated ‘chill-out’ areas are provided outside the auditorium with soft seating and activities for people to use if they want to take a break from being in the auditorium. The performance is also be audio-described.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, added: "More than 1 in 100 people in the UK are autistic. They and their families want to enjoy a great time at the theatre in the same way as everyone else, so we’re delighted to be working with the RSC again to put on a relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical.
"We’ve been heartened by the enthusiasm with which the RSC have taken on the task of adjusting the performance to meet the needs of this audience. This involves some technical changes to sound and lighting, setting up quiet areas for people who become overwhelmed and providing a group of trained volunteers and staff to provide a friendly welcome and support. It is wonderful to know that during this performance autistic people and their families will be understood, supported and accepted, so they can just sit back, relax and enjoy the show."
Matilda The Musical is produced in the West End by the RSC with André Ptaszynski and Denise Wood as executive producers. The production was developed with the support of Company Dramaturg, Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.
For this performance, the RSC is offering tickets at reduced rates of £25 and £10, which can be booked through the RSC Ticket Hotline or in person at the RSC box office from Tuesday, February 9. All bookers will be sent a visual story to help them familiarise themselves with the plot, characters and setting before they arrive at the theatre.
Detailed event and transport information will also be available from www.MatildaTheMusical.com.