This afternoon totally blew me away! It wasn’t the fact that this was my 29th time seeing Les Mis. It was something else.
My niece has been on at me for a while to take her. For those that don’t know, she is on the autistic spectrum and finds certain situations very difficult, especially anything with crowds or new places. She goes to drama school which helps her a lot with confidence etc. and she absolutely loves theatre. Even though she was excited she was also very nervous. I had spoken to her about the trip prior to this as had my brother. I also contacted the theatre in advance to let them know.
It was them that blew me away! From the moment I emailed everything just fell into place. I received a phone call yesterday confirming they had things in place to help and they advised me of the procedure.
We arrived early and collected our tickets- they allowed me to book the seats normally reserved for wheelchairs which was good as it wasn’t in with the main audience. It was a little box to the side. Within 5 minutes, Nick, the theatre manager came to collect us. He took us to a little waiting area and introduced us to some other staff. He then offered us refreshments. Nick then spoke directly to Jess and told her everything that was about to happen. From the staff roll call, setting up of the kiosks, everything! He also told her that during the briefing, all staff would be told about her and to look after her (this did happen as the staff were all great at checking in and seeing how she was). Then he asked Jess if she had any questions and afterwards sat and chatted about nothing in particular to help her stay calm. We also had access to the disabled loo so she would not have to encounter any crowds there, and a quiet room in case everything gets too much- the quiet room has comfy chairs and a large TV show so you can watch the rest of the show if need be. Then he handed us over to our own liaison person who escorted us to our seats early, just before general admission. This let Jess get acquainted with her environment. Both him and the manager checked in on us regularly.
Afterwards, she managed to meet a few of the cast at the stage door who were equally amazing! A massive thank you to everyone at The Queen’s Theatre, you are awesome!