Sunderland Empire praised for being autism-friendly

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Sunderland Empire has been praised for its autism-friendly approach to theatre.

The Creative Learning team have been presented with the Autism Charter, as part of their continued commitment to autism awareness, by Pawsum, the mascot from the North East Autism Society

It’s the first theatre in the North East to sign up to the Autism Charter, an initiative by Autism Alliance and the Department of Health to make venues more autism-friendly.

By signing the charter, venues receive additional free autism awareness training and support for staff.

Hollie Coxon, creative learning manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “We are delighted to sign the autism charter and are committed to continuously developing our creative learning offer through innovative projects and initiatives to support accessible theatre engagement in partnership with the North East Autism Society.”

Forthcoming autism-friendly events include a relaxed performance of Aladdin on December 17.

Kerrie Highcock, family development manager at North East Autism Society, said: “We have had the opportunity to work with the Sunderland Empire for the previous three years on developing and delivering a relaxed performance for people with autism and their families.

“It has been fantastic to be part of something which can make a difference to so many people’s lives.

“A visit to the theatre can be just a standard experience for many people, but for someone with autism it can be very difficult, confusing and overwhelming.

“Making a few adjustments means that people with autism can experience the show too.”