Making theatre more accessible for anxious children and their families through Explore & Experience events
thAt present, I work one day per week for The Place theatre in Bedford providing support and consultancy around marketing and PR; as well as driving sales, this role is also about developing audiences too.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, and with The Place programming so much good children's content during December, it's a great time to look at how I can use my specialist skills to widen access and participation in live theatre for children with anxiety and/or complex needs; many of the productions are providing Relaxed Performances too.
The Place has always offered familiarisation visits for families, however these are by appointment so families need to ring up and arrange a personalised visit. There hasn't been much uptake of this offer, so to ensure this is because there's genuinely no need for it rather than it being that families don't want to trouble the theatre, or feel that a personalised visit might be too intense, I've begun organising an Explore and Experience morning instead.
On November 18th, the theatre will be opened up to families to come and have a look round the public areas of the venue - the auditorium, bathrooms, foyer, etc; and then to stay for a FREE winter-themed sensory music and play session. While the event is specifically targeted at children with anxiety, ASD, or complex needs, it's open to all; there's no obligation for participants to buy tickets to see a show afterwards either, it can be a visit just for curiosity and fun.
Very much looking forward to designing the content of the event: I will be providing a social story about the theatre for participants to take away, and working on creating a sensory guide to the theatre for future use as well.
Although free, the event is ticketed: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/explore-experience-the-place-tickets-39298477805