Disability-safe pantomime performances launched

Published: December 14 2023
Last updated: December 15 2023

Grace Wood | A pantomime in South London is catering for the needs of children with epilepsy and other disabilities

Children at Enable's previous pantomimeA pantomime in South London is catering for the needs of children with epilepsy and other disabilities by providing sensory-sensitive performances.

Peter Pan at Wandsworth Civic Suite has been created by theatre company Hurricane Productions and organised by the not-for-profit organisation Enable.

The relaxed performances for children with disabilities include a number of special considerations:

  • A chill-out room for audience members who need a bit of quiet time before and during the performance.
  • Reduced lighting and special effects.
  • Free tickets for carers.
  • Familiarisation visits, which are opportunities for audience members to check the auditorium to make sure it will be safe for them before the show.

There are two sensory-sensitive performances, on Saturday 16 and Saturday 23 of December.

Enable works with councils, charities and other organisations to deliver health, leisure and community services in South London.

The sensory-sensitive performances were inspired by members of the local community who asked for these to be provided after last year’s show.

Enable’s senior PR and communications manager Lorna Dorrell said the charity was looking to scale up the events next year if people in the community wanted more.

She said: “We’re always willing to do more and learn more. Enable is shaped by its service users.”

Dorrell said that while the adaptations were not epilepsy specific, the panto is “generally sensory sensitive, trying to cater to all sensory disabilities rather than focusing on anything in particular”.

The show caters to children aged 3-11.

Marketing manager Jake Leonard said they had chosen Peter Pan because it was a classic British story.

“Last year we chose Dick Whittington,” he said. “But this year we wanted to go for something with more magic to it.”

Other considerations include that house lights are kept on; there are no rapid lighting changes or sudden loud noises; there is lower audience capacity to allow for space in the auditorium and there is a relaxed attitude to walking around during the show.

These are also opportunities to meet the cast to “close the circle of understanding for people who have difficulties with flexibility of imagination”.