Tam's Tall Tales

- A Special Panto in Glasgow

King's Theatre, Glasgow

"Oh Yes We Can"

I am of the generation that revered Jimmy Logan, Rikki Fulton and Stanley Baxter who strutted their stuff as wisecracking dames in days of yore. Times move on and a new generation of stars continue to combine glitter and corn and get the families singing along.

For those who come from parts of the world where "Panto" is not part o the culture, here's how it is defined in Wikipedia:

"Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in Britain and is generally performed during the Christmas and New Year season. Modern pantomime includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers."

An interesting innovation has been pioneered by the King's Theatre which is to put on a performance of their Christmas pantomime Peter Pan catering for people with additional needs.

For the first time in the Glasgow theatre's history, the performance will be specially designed to better welcome people with a learning disability, Autism Spectrum Condition or sensory and communication disorder.

There will be a relaxed attitude to noise and movement around the auditorium, and some small changes will be made to the light and sound effects.

In a move welcomed by the National Autistic Society Scotland, Relaxed Performance bookers will be provided with a Visual Story in advance of the show which contains information about what to expect on the day and to help prepare for the production.

This will also include photographs, a plot summary, character descriptions and a note of audience participation to explain the story of Peter Pan.

A familiarisation visit to the theatre ahead of the show can be arranged where staff will be available to answer any questions.

There will be designated 'chill-out areas' throughout the theatre for customers to use at any time during the performance. These will have comfortable places to sit and quiet activities for people to enjoy.

Jenny Paterson, Director of the National Autistic Society Scotland said: "We very much appreciate the work the King's Theatre in Glasgow has put into creating an autism friendly performance. "Their inclusive outlook has ensured that young people with autism won't miss out on the panto season this year. In fact it will no doubt be the first time some young people will have been able to see such a show.

"It's definitely now a case of 'oh yes we can."

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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