Relaxed performances are designed to provide an opportunity for people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs who require a more relaxed environment. MTP’s long-term goal is to see regular relaxed performances in the West End. The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is a great supporter of this project and both MTP and SOLT are working hard to try to ensure that relaxed performances become a familiar fixture in the theatre diary.
Judy Craymer, creator and producer of MAMMA MIA!, said, “I’ve always been proud of the fact that MAMMA MIA! appeals to all ages and backgrounds and really does have the feelgood factor. However, I was overwhelmed by the wonderful reaction of the audience at the last relaxed performance, so was delighted when Mousetrap Theatre Projects asked if we would hold another one. I know it also meant a great deal to all the cast and crew involved on that night three years ago. It was very special and one got a real appreciation for the inclusivity of theatre."
Over 200 families attended the last relaxed performance of MAMMA MIA! in 2013, which included 504 young people, of whom 344 had special needs. The whole experience of the evening was received with huge delight, gratitude and enthusiasm by the audience. One parent wrote, “We had a fantastic evening, looking around it was overwhelming to see the responses of all the children with SEN (Special Education Needs). It was a great experience for them, they were able not only to see the performance but attend the event with their families, carers and siblings. Thank you!!!”
Thanks to generous support from Littlestar, the producers of MAMMA MIA!, and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, the owners of the Novello Theatre, Mousetrap Theatre Projects is able to offer tickets which are reduced especially for this performance, with children’s tickets starting from as little as £2.50 and adults’ from £5.00.
Prior to attending the performance, all families will be sent support materials including an education pack that explores themes and characters in the musical, a ‘Visual Story’ and a ‘Sensory Synopsis’. These resources help families prepare for their trip to MAMMA MIA!, and guarantee that the full theatre experience is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for the whole family. The pack also recommends convenient travel routes and restaurants.
Susan Whiddington, Director of Mousetrap Theatre Projects said, “We are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic musical to families with children with special needs. After we offered the first relaxed performance of MAMMA MIA! in 2013, we have had so many families asking for it again!” To support families, MTP has a dedicated Relaxed Performance Project Manager who will assist families attending MAMMA MIA!. There will also be fully trained staff and volunteers on site to assist families at the theatre, as well as volunteer guides at the three local tube stations.
Mousetrap Theatre Projects is a theatre education charity founded in 1997 to enable young people with limited resources, access or support to engage with the best of London’s theatre. To date, it has provided opportunities for over 200,000 disadvantaged young people and young people with special needs to attend theatre, and currently offers 18 innovative theatre access, creative learning and youth engagement programmes for families, schools and in community settings.
MAMMA MIA! has been entertaining audiences in the West End since 1999 and is delighted to have this opportunity to work with Mousetrap Theatre Projects for this very special performance.