Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who Is Most Accessible Of Them All?

The New Wolsey Theatre is raising the bar for accessibility of live streamed and live shows. Is The New Wolsey Theatre’s Rock‘n’Roll panto of The Snow Queen the most accessible panto ever?

All performances of The Snow Queen* will have captioning and audio description available as an option – live and live streamed. Our British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted show takes place on Wednesday 23rd December at 7pm, accessible both from home and in the auditorium. They’re also developing a ground-breaking Relaxed Performance experience of the show, which will be available to watch from home, which they think this is the only Panto available this year in the UK with these accessibility credentials.

The Snow Queen will be much more than a show on stage with a camera pointed at it: this is an extremely ambitious blend of live action, animation, audience interaction, pre-recorded film and even a live ‘doorstep’ moment with a member of the audience watching from home. Captions and Audio Description will be available for those watching in the auditorium and as options for the Live Stream show.

The New Wolsey Theatre strives to make its work accessible to all. A positive outcome of the pandemic is that we’ve been able to build in these exceptional accessibility standards to The Snow Queen and demonstrate how we’re determined not to leave sections of our audience behind as we innovate in response to Covid-19.

Sarah Holmes, CEO of The New Wolsey Theatre says: ‘We’re not aware of any theatre, anywhere, with better access provision for a Panto this year. It’s so important that people with disabilities and differing access needs are not left behind as we strive to recover from the pandemic. If there is a more accessible panto out there, we’d love to know about it! The Live Streamed nature of The Snow Queen means our accessibility features are literally available to anyone who needs them – whether they live in Glasgow or Penzance, or indeed Budapest. Ultimately, we’d like every show in every theatre to be this accessible. Wouldn’t that be amazing?’

Peter Rowe, Artistic Director of the New Wolsey Theatre says: ‘Over the years we’ve built a reputation for taking access seriously and this year we’ve taken it a step further. In a normal year our ‘relaxed’ shows are really popular. We couldn’t offer these in our auditorium for The Snow Queen because of Covid-19 safety, so we decided to approach it differently. The ‘Relaxed Experience’ recording will make the show more accessible to people who have, for example, autism or dementia, or who simply need to watch at a different pace or intensity than others. We’re not aware of any other Panto producers going this far to cater for as many people as possible. Covid-19 has actually pushed us to think more deeply about access and that’s not a bad thing at all.’

The New Wolsey Theatre is also giving away 400 free tickets for The Snow Queen for the Carers’ Big Night In. The Tuesday 22nd December 7pm performance is dedicated to all the wonderful Carers in our community. We have now allocated all the available auditorium seats for that show by way of a ballot. We still have some Live Stream tickets available for that show. To nominate a Carer or a Care Home to receive a free ticket please email: carers@wolseytheatre.co.uk.

We recently spoke to Sue Lawther Brown about all things Panto – including accessibility HERE too.

For more information or to book visit www.wolseytheatre.co.uk.