Amateur panto to hold disability-friendly showing

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A village pantomime is breaking new ground when it launches a disability-friendly production of its annual show.

Yeadon Charities Association have committed to performing an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk suitable for people with learning difficulties, dementia and hearing problems.

The ‘relaxed’ performance at Yeadon Town Hall features a sign language interpreter, quieter sound effects and brighter lighting, and the cast believe they are the first amateur theatre company in the region to try out the idea.

YCA president Peter Long, who has written and will co-direct the pantomime, said:

”We have been staging pantomimes for 78 years. The panto funds our work in the community, including the Memory Lane dementia cafe. Making the wonderful tradition more accessible just seems like the right thing for us to do.”

Professional theatres have already made efforts to make their shows more welcoming to people who may find traditional stage effects difficult to cope with. Yeadon’s directors have also produced a storybook which explains the panto to children and prepares them for any surprises during the show.

Sound designer Chris Eddison came up with the idea for the charity.

“Professional theatre is opening up far more for people with disabilities. There are lots of new and exciting ways for many more people to enjoy the magic of theatre. We’ve got big ambitions for the future, but this seemed like a great place to start. We hope that our work will encourage more local theatre companies to make their performances accessible too”.

The performance takes place on January 25 and the panto runs from January 20-28. Tickets can be purchased from www.yca.amateurboxoffice.co.uk.

Ian Watkins

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