Special effects will be tuned down and lights will dimmed at Sunderland Empire this festive season to ensure families have a more relaxed theatre experience of their swashbuckling pantomime, Peter Pan.

The Relaxed Performance will take place on Thursday 27 December 2018 at 5pm and is facilitated by the theatres award winning Creative Learning and Community Partnerships team, which has seen attendances and demand grow at their highly acclaimed Relaxed Performances over the years.

The theatre has worked closely with the north east autism society over the years to support the growth and development of these performances.

Anthony Hope, Creative Learning and Community Partnerships Manager said: “We are so thrilled that after 6 years our Relaxed Performances continue to give opportunities for many families and individuals across the region to visit our venue, who may otherwise find it to be a daunting experience.

“We have since encouraged other relaxed performances across our calendar such as Awful Auntie and Gangtsa’ Granny with the plans for more in the future.

“The support from NEAS over the years has been crucial in our development and their knowledge and expertise has enabled us to really understand the needs of our audience.”

The Relaxed Performance is for patrons who may be concerned about attending a theatrical performance and may find visiting the theatre daunting.

The performance will be designed to benefit patrons with additional needs, such as autism, ADHD, dementia, young children attending the theatre for the first time, or anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment.

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at north east autism society (neas) said: “We have worked in partnership with the Sunderland Empire for the last six years and have developed a really positive working relationship.

“It’s brilliant to have watched the relaxed performances develop over the years.

“We really enjoy working with the theatre, they have really embraced the idea of relaxed performances and embedded it within their practice.”

Families will have the chance to see the all-star crew including award winning actor Jamie Lomas (Hollyoaks, Eastenders, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) as the dastardly Captain Hook! CBBC’s Richard McCourt aka ‘Dick’ from Dick and Dom will be going solo as Hooks BOGIE-tastic right-hand man Smee! Topped off by everyone’s favourite Barry-born omelette flipping mum, Melanie Walters from BBC’s BAFTA winning series ‘Gavin and Stacey’ as the delightful and doting ‘Mother’, Mrs Darling with Josh Andrews (Cats, Book of Mormon and 42nd Street) as Peter Pan.

During the Relaxed Performance slight alterations are made to the performance though the overall content will not change.

Technical adjustments are made to lighting and sound (house lights are normally left on low and strobe lighting may be removed and loud noises or explosions are either taken out entirely or reduced.

Audience members are free to go in and out as needed and late comers rules will be relaxed and making noise during the performance will not be discouraged.

Additional staff members are on hand to assist as required, and quiet areas are provided for anyone who may become overwhelmed at any point.

In addition, to supporting the visit, visual stories can be sent to all bookers on request in advance of the visit, with detailed information and photos of both the theatre and the show.

Pre-show familiarisation visits can be arranged.

For further information about the Relaxed Performance call 0191 566 1054 (Mon-Fri) or email [email protected]

Tickets just £12!*

So hoist the mainsail and get set to fly to Neverland as Martin Dodd for UK Productions brings another PAN-tastic pantomime adventure to Sunderland.

To book tickets: Access Line: 0800 912 6971* www.atgtickets.com/sunderland* Groups 10+: 0330 102 7531**

*£12 ticket applies to the performance on Thu 27 Dec at 5pm only. A one-off transaction fee of £3.65 applies to telephone and online sales. No fees for Theatre Card members or groups of 10+.

**Calls charged at local rate for groups 10+ only.

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