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WMC Hosts First Major Relaxed Performance

Next month, Wales Millennium Centre presents its first relaxed performance of a large-scale musical, Madagascar the Musical, specially designed for people who may find going to the theatre challenging, including those with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder, writes Alys Jones.

In order to ensure an encouraging, safe atmosphere, the performance will include sensory adjustments such as lower sound levels, brighter lighting and a less formal setting. Madagascar the Musical is open to all and promises to be a fun experience, encouraging audiences to react to the production as they wish.

Relaxed performances allow those attending to come and go from the auditorium as needed, as well as offering quiet spaces for anyone who may feel overwhelmed. A visual story will be provided, explaining everything from arriving at the building to leaving the show, and a pre-show familiarisation tour of the auditorium.

These adaptations create a more inclusive theatre environment, and do not affect the story of the musical, which is based on the smash-hit DreamWorks animated motion picture. It follows Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

Wales Millennium Centre has held relaxed performances in the smaller Weston Studio and its public spaces, such as The Bear in 2017, and Duckie in 2018. BSL-interpreted and captioned performances are already available for most of the major touring musical and theatre productions that come to the Centre.

Meleri Thomas, External Affairs Manager at the National Autistic Society Cymru said: “Autistic people and their families tell us that they would love to visit the theatre, but because of sensory issues and anxiety in unfamiliar surroundings, they are often prevented from doing so.

“We are thrilled to be working alongside the Wales Millennium Centre to help develop autism-friendly performances that take into account some of the challenges that autistic people and their families can face and enable them to enjoy live theatre in an environment that works for them.”

The relaxed performance of Madagascar The Musical is at Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 8th August 2019, at 2pm. Tickets range from £16-£31 and are on sale now via wmc.org.uk or 029 2063 6464.

Image by Scott Rylander.


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