Panto treat for a special audience

RELAXED PERFORMANCE: 'Pawsome the Panda' the mascot of the North East Autism Society, meets the cast of the Sunderland Empire Panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
RELAXED PERFORMANCE: 'Pawsome the Panda' the mascot of the North East Autism Society, meets the cast of the Sunderland Empire Panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
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PANTO stars are gearing up for a special performance this week for audiences with learning or behavioural disorders.

Lights will be dimmed and special effects will be toned down at Sunderland Empire to ensure people with conditions such as autism and ADHD have a more relaxed theatre experience.

The performance will take place at 2pm on Friday.

Theatre-goers will have the chance to see panto legend and star of stage and screen Su Pollard as the dastardly Wicked Queen, alongside EastEnders and Dancing on Ice star, Matt Lapinskas as the Prince and children’s TV favourite Andrew Agnew, best known as Pc Plum in Balamory, as the side-splitting Muddles the Jester.

Ahead of the relaxed performance, a pre-show familiarisation visit will be available, where groups, families and individuals can come along and explore the venue. A visual story will be provided to support the visit, created in partnership with North East Autism Society, and will inform audiences about what to expect when coming to the theatre.

Hollie Coxon, creative learning manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “The Relaxed Performances are a real team effort in the planning and delivery on the day.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have such brilliant support from the team in general, the Snow White production and the North East Autism Society.

“For us, it’s a real pleasure to work with organisations and families in the preparation for their visit, and to then see so many smiling faces and families at ease at the relaxed performance.”

Audiences will also have the flexibility to leave the auditorium and come and go as they please. There are no latecomer’s rules and no one will be asked to be quiet.

Quiet space will be available with activities for anyone who wishes to leave the auditorium.

l The Creative Learning Team are available on 566 1056 to discuss how they can help support a visit to the relaxed performance and to answer any questions.

For ticketing queries, call 566 1045 or email at sunderlandboxoffice@theambassadors.com.