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The Tempest for Autistic Children

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 16th Oct 2015 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin
Flute Theatre
Shakespeare for Inclusive Audiences
The Tempest
For children with autism and their families
Sun 25 October 11am & 3pm Bloomsbury Theatre Studio
Part of the Bloomsbury Festival
Kelly Hunter directs Greg Hicks as Caliban; the cast also features Eva Lily Tausig (Miranda), Chris MacDonald (Ferdinand/Stephano), Tricia Gannon (Trinculo), Roslyn Patterson (Ariel) and Sifiso Mazibuko (Prospero).
“Today was the first time I forgot myself and was just there” 14 year-old with Aspergers
A highlight of the Bloomsbury Festival, this important production of The Tempest for children with autism was premiered in the summer of 2014 in Stratford-upon-Avon and Columbus Ohio as a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ohio State University. The result was – in the words of a parent whose fourteen year old took part – a phenomenal success.
Fifteen children on the spectrum become the participants for each performance, sitting with six actors in a circle on the floor around a painted floor cloth,which represents Prospero’s island. The children’s carers and parents sit just behind them on an outer circle of chairs. The actors invite the children to join them on the island as the story unfolds through sensory games, which the children and actors play together.
"For me it was like a cocoon, a warm, nurturing and totally accepting space where the children were able to just be exactly as they wanted." Parent of child with autism
Although the games and the narrative remain the same for each performance, the show is completely different every time depending on the nature of the children and young people who attend. By the end of each show the children have been able to assert their own personalities within the space and many have expressed that they have ‘found their voices for the first time’.   
The almost immediate emergence that so many of the children experience through playing the games within the transformative space of this theatrical experience is overwhelming.
Suitable for ages 8+
Director Kelly Hunter  Designer Anthony Lamble  Company stage manager Paula Salmon Casting Director Annelie Powell  Production Development Emma Richards
Bloomsbury Theatre Studio
15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH
Book tickets by phone 020 3108 1000
Tickets £5
Part of the Bloomsbury Festival 22 - 25 October 
Established in 2006, Bloomsbury Festival is a creative explosion of performance, arts, music and heritage events held in the streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and public and private buildings of one of London’s most vibrant cultural quarters.



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