Theatre launches new inclusive panto initiative

Hull New Theatre has joined forces with local company Concrete Youth to make this year’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, a more inclusive experience.

It comes after the venue introduced its popular school and community group campaign, Grow Your Future, earlier this year.

Now, the theatre is extending its educational programme to include those with neurodiverse disabilities with the launch of a new sensory box project.

The project will be delivered by hull-based theatre company Concrete Youth who specialise in performances for audiences with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Participating schools will each receive a specially designed box featuring the story of Jack and the Beanstalk alongside a number of carefully selected sensory items to help learners follow the classic tale while the company will hold workshops with teachers to enhance the experience for all concerned.

Janice Wincott, Theatres and Halls Manager said: “Hull Theatres is committed to making the theatre experience more inclusive. We realise a big part of this is breaking down those barriers to engagement and we hope that the sensory box project, together with the work we’ve been doing with schools across the city, is just the start of this.”

Concrete Youth’s CEO & Co-Artistic Director, Daniel Swift said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hull New Theatre again on this exciting project to support and engage specialist settings across the city in sensory provision and the arts. The venue has long shown support for Concrete Youth’s work and great dedication for developing their accessibility programme, and we’re delighted to support them with that through this project. Our audience suffers a severe lack of cultural provision, so to be able to provide these sensory sessions in specialist settings, as part of a wider relaxed performance for this audience, is an exciting and important prospect. We can’t wait to get started!”

The first two sensory boxes will be presented to representatives from participating schools at this year’s launch with Gareth Gates and Neil Hurst at Princes Quay Shopping Centre from 3.30pm on Friday 28 October 2022.

Tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk (Sat 10 – Sat 31 December) are on sale now.