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Chitty Chitty Brilliant!

Tenfold was invited to watch the Relaxed Performance of the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 12 January and we can honestly say that it’s a truly fantasmagorical show!

The talented cast, amazing choreography, wonderful sets and costumes, and of course, the brilliant songs that we all know and love from the classic film, combine to make this a truly fantastic show. But the best thing about it was definitely the audience! With just a few small adjustments in production, including brighter house lights, slightly subdued sound and no strobe lighting, it meant that the dedicated team at the Playhouse put on a show that could be enjoyed by an audience full of children and adults with a learning disability.

The audience were keen to show their enjoyment and appreciation, cheering, clapping and joining in the songs. The smiles on the faces of the cast members told us how much they were also relishing this opportunity to get such an enthusiastic response, the raised house lights meant that the could see the audience throughout. There were plenty of laughs, in particular for the spies, and some booing for the child-catcher.

Best Show
Afterwards, we talked to several cast members who told us that it was the best audience they had played to in the whole run of the show, and for many of them, it was the first time that they had been part of a Relaxed Performance. Amy Griffiths who plays Truly Scrumptious said “It was amazing! The audience were totally loving it. You could see the joy on people’s faces, and that’s such a great thing for any actor to experience!”

We also caught up with aspiring actor, Liam who has a learning disability, he told us that he had seen the show three times now but the Relaxed Performance was the best by far! Liam enjoys attending First Floor, West Yorkshire Playhouse’s scheme for young people, including those with a learning disability, to take part in acting and the performing arts.

Award Winning
West Yorkshire Playhouse was the first theatre in the country to put on relaxed performances of their productions, and as well as running these for audiences with learning disabilities they now put on Relaxed Performances for audiences with dementia. In 2013 they won a very well deserved Tenfold Learning Disability Award in recognition of this innovative and important work.

“We are so proud of this scheme”, said Maria Thelwell who works in the Learning Disability team. “It is fantastic that we can bring these shows too such a wide audience, and it always makes my day to be part of it”

The show runs in Leeds until 30 January and the will also be touring – tickets are still available, find out more on the WYP website

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