The New Year's Eve festivities at People's Light were, perhaps, a bit unusual this season.
There were no fireworks or noise makers. In fact, we lowered the volume, kept the lights on dim, and relaxed. What it lacked in typical New Year's frippery, however, the relaxed performance of Aladdin: A Musical Panto (our 9th to date) more than made up for in laughter and unabashed joy. Our good friend Becky Bradbeer said it well:
"As a long time subscriber, donor and friend of Peoples Light's, as well as a woman with a significant physical disability, attending the Relaxed Performance of Aladdin was not necessarily out of need, but rather interest and desire. And what I realized as I surveyed the audience was that many were there for the same reason! Families with typically developing children sitting next to families for whom this performance was a welcome relief from most alienating cultural and community venues – all coming together for this shared experience of fun, laughter, community and inclusivity."
Pictured above: Camilo Estrada from People's Light's Aladdin: A Musical Panto; Photo by Tori Harvey
People’s Light leads a cohort of six professional theatres in expanding the availability of relaxed performances in the region. In 2016, the cohort was awarded an Audience (R)Evolution grant from the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) to further this work. We draw on extensive staff experience, institutional history working with individuals with a range of disabilities, and several years of rigorous research pertaining to relaxed and sensory-friendly performances.
Pictured: Stephanie Hodge of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's The Ice Princess; Photo by AnnaBeth Crittenden
If you or someone in your life would benefit from a more relaxed live theatre experience, or even if you're just curious, then come! Be welcome! People of all abilities are invited and encouraged to attend.
You can also join us at the Special Kids Camp Expo at Valley Forge Educational Services right here in Malvern on Saturday, January 27th from 1-4pm. It's a great opportunity to learn more about our relaxed performances and a variety of resources including summer camps, programs and recreational opportunities for children and young adults with special needs. The event is free.
2018 Cohort Relaxed Performances
*Performances are appropriate for all ages
Delaware Theatre Company
- Ella: First Lady of Song
May 6th, 7pm
McCarter Theatre Center
- Night Train 57: A Sensory-Friendly Folk Opera Featuring Dan Zanes*
February 2nd, 3pm
- James and the Giant Peach*
May 26th, 4pm
- A Fairy Tale*
October 20th, 6:30pm
- Christmas of Swing*
November 17th, 3pm
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Center Valley, PA
- Alice in Wonderland*
June 29th, 10am
- Shakespeare for Kids*
August 1st, 2pm
- Romeo and Juliet: A Requiem
May 27th, 2pm
- Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie
August 19th, 2pm
- Peter and the Starcatcher*
May 12th, 3pm