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Motown The Musical

 

A night to remember

at Motown the Musical 

                                            

On Tuesday 22nd January 2019, over 280 families with 340 young people with additional needs came together to attend a special ‘Relaxed Performance’ of Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre.  Audience members represented 32 London boroughs and beyond, with one family travelling all the way from Somerset to attend!  It was a truly magical celebration of community and theatregoing.  

We worked closely with the show’s production team and theatre to create a relaxed environment through keeping the house lights lit during the show, reducing the volume of the music and special effects and requesting the script to be less explicit.  We also reduced the tickets prices to ensure they were accessible to those wishing to attend, offering tickets at £3, £6 and £10 for children - £6, £12 and £20 for accompanying adults.  To hear about this in depth please read our Motown Relaxed Performance Report.

Whilst the cast eagerly awaited their audience, to introduce the children and families into the world of Motown the Musical, we invited theatre practitioners to run pre-show workshops immersing them in the story, music and themes.  Then, after a short welcome from cast members Natalie Kassanga (Diana Ross) and Jay Perry (Berry Gordy), it was curtain up and on with the show! 

As an extra-special treat, we also arranged a sing-a-long during the performance with the one and only Diana Ross! Diana (played by Natalie Kassanga) led the audience as they sang along to one of the show’s most memorable tracks, Reach Out and Touch: a truly rousing moment that will no doubt be remembered forever!

We couldn’t have staged such a spectacular event without the hard work, support and talents of the Motown cast and producers, and the staff of Shaftesbury Theatre. Thank you to everyone involved for coming together to make it happen and make a difference to the lives of all those who experienced it.    

Motown the Musical cast member Jay Perry, who plays the lead role of Berry Gordy, also posted on social media the next day:

"Tonight at Motown we had a relaxed performance. This was the first of my career and I have to say it was one of the most special moments I've had on stage. Theatre should be accessible to everyone and getting to witness the joy that music and dance can bring to SEND children was truly a privilege. Thank you Mousetrap Theatre Projects"
 

Here’s just a snapshot of the incredible feedback we’ve had from attendees so far:

“Thank you for making this possible and making me feel connected to the wider family with disabled loved ones - not a bat of an eyelid from anyone…Through your wonderful organisation I can; A, afford the theatre; and B, enjoy it in the true spirit of being ‘relaxed’. I am so grateful to you all to be able to give my daughter the opportunity to experience the theatre.”

“It was lovely to see the parents witnessing their children coming out of their comfort zone and enjoying themselves in a social situation that they do not usually get to see.  It was also great for the parents and sometimes it is easy to forget how isolated they can become.”

“[The show was] so special and uplifting, especially at this time of year when things can be tough for all families - especially those with disabilities - to deal with.”

“What an amazing event. Such a clever idea and so beautifully organised by you and your colleagues.  It was truly wonderful to see all those families being able to really enjoy themselves at the theatre in such a relaxed way with all their children.” 

Key facts about the Relaxed Performance of Motown the Musical

340 people with special needs attendees
284 families were present, of which 40 came from outside of London
There were attendees from 32 out of a possible 33 London Boroughs

The survey we sent out to attendees following the performance found that:

15% of respondents had never been to a Relaxed Performance before
35% of families only feel they can access theatre through Relaxed Performances
78% of respondents said that a ticket price of £20 or less was what they considered a fair price for a relaxed performance

 

Families enjoyed pre-show workshops...   
Generations united... and dressed the part!   
There was lots of fun and excitement pre-show!   
The audience were on the edge of their seats ready for curtain-up...  And were cheering for more at the end!   

 

 

Natalie Kassanga (Diana Ross) and Jay Perry (Berry Gordy) delivered a special introduction to the performance
 
To round off the magical evening, audience members were invited up on stage for photos with the cast 

All photography by Alex Rumford


 


About Relaxed Performances

 

Our Relaxed Performances are designed to provide an opportunity for young people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs who require a more relaxed environment. 

Normal rules of theatregoing do not apply, such as having to keep quiet or sit still. Our aim is to offer a supportive, understanding and welcoming atmosphere for all. This means it can get a bit noisy inside the auditorium. If you find that the environment of the theatre becomes overwhelming, we will have special arrangments in place to make your theatre experience as enjoyable as possible. 

Please speak to the staff on the day or call Bryony on the number below to find out more.

A Relaxed Performances involves:

  • Adjustments to sound and lighting
  • Free support resources to help families prepare for their theatre visit
  • Trained volunteers and staff to help at the event
  • Chill out zones within the theatre if you need to leave the auditorium
  • A relaxed and fun environment to enjoy the theatre as a family
     

Contact Us

If you have any questions about any aspect of the information above, please don't hesitate to contact: 

 Bryony Relf, Relaxed Performance Administrator 

Tel: 020 7240 1248 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact Us

Mousetrap Theatre Projects
33 Shaftesbury Avenue,
LONDON
W1D 7EH

Visitors: Entrance is on Rupert Street

t: 020 7632 4111
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Registered charity number 1053434