At 2.30pm on Wednesday 22 June, there will be a ‘relaxed performance’ of the Olivier Award-winning The Railway Children – Live on Stage at London’s King’s Cross Theatre. Relaxed performances are designed to benefit those with autism, sensory and communication disorders or a learning disability.
The National Autistic Society has worked closely with the production and advised on adjustments to the show and talked to both front-of-house staff and the cast to increase understanding of autism. There will be volunteers on hand on the day from the National Autistic Society.
Some adjustments will be made to the production as necessary including sound and lighting levels and some sound and smoke effects. Audience members will be able to leave and enter the auditorium throughout the show as needed and a chill-out area will be available in the foyer. ‘Visual Stories’ (detailed information and photos) of both the theatre and the show will be sent to all bookers in advance.
In addition, Mousetrap Theatre Projects will have 250 seats at £8 each for this performance, which will be offered to all special secondary schools in Greater London – these schools encompass a huge variety of learning needs, not only those on the autistic spectrum.
The relaxed performance is open for general sale as usual and there are no restrictions other than the usual age related ones (children under 2 will not be admitted, children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult). There are access rates of either £24.75 or £12.50 (with the usual complimentary companion seats).
The Olivier Award-winning production of Mike Kenny’s stage adaptation of E. Nesbit’s novel The Railway Children is now running at King’s Cross Theatre until 8 January 2017.
The Railway Children opened at King’s Cross Theatre to critical and public acclaim on 14 January 2015, following previews from 16 December 2014. The show will celebrate its 2nd Anniversary on 16 December 2016.
The cast of The Railway Children includes Martin Barass as Mr Perks, Suzy Cooper as Mother, Sophie Ablett as Bobbie, Matt Jessup as Peter, Beth Lilly as Phyllis, Lindsay Allen as Mrs Perks, Peter Gardiner as Doctor/Butler, Connie Hyde as Mrs Viney, Shaun McCourt as Jim, Blair Plant as Father/Schepansky, Moray Treadwell as the Old Gentleman and Adam Collier, Helen Brampton, Alan Drake and Julie Gilby. The children’s ensemble is made up of four teams of ten children aged between 8 and 16.
A purpose built 1,000-seat theatre, complete with a railway track and platforms, and with a state of the art air conditioning and heating system, was specially created for this production on King’s Boulevard, behind King’s Cross Station, a site which has been loaned to the production for the duration of the run by Google. The York Theatre Royal production, which is in association with the National Railway Museum, features a live steam locomotive and a vintage carriage, originally built in 1896.
The production at King’s Cross Theatre is in support of the Railway Children Charity that aims to help homeless and runaway children throughout the world, with £1 per ticket donated to the charity. To date, £335,000 has been raised by the theatre production since its West End debut in 2010.
The Railway Children is directed by Damian Cruden, the Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal, with design by Joanna Scotcher, lighting by Richard G. Jones, music by Christopher Madin and sound by Craig Vear.
The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
2016 marks the 110th anniversary of the publication of Edith Nesbit’s much loved classic children’s book The Railway Children, which has subsequently been adapted for the stage and screen, most famously in the 1970 film version directed by Lionel Jeffries and starring Jenny Agutter, Bernard Cribbins, Dinah Sheridan and Sally Thomsett.
Photo: Johan Persson