Sunday, 10 August 2014

Going the extra mile

Chloe meeting Peppa Pig and friends

Yesterday we went to the theatre. This was a very big challenge as Chloe cannot follow the action on stage and even though her Cochlear Implants give her access to sound noise can be overwhelming and individual voices very hard to follow when she can't see which direction they are coming from. We had an incredibly unsuccessful trip to the pantomime in January which resulted in her clinging to me having removed her processors. She lasted a whole ten minutes from curtain up and I felt like I had subjected her to torture.

I love the theatre and hadn't yet admitted defeat so determined to have another try I booked us tickets for Peppa Pig's Big Splash at The Northcott Theatre. Initially she was really excited as she adores the Peppa Pig cartoon, it appeals to her sense of humour, the character voices are really distinctive and the narrator makes the story easy to follow. Last weekend I started talking to Chloe about it to prepare her and my heart sank as she said she didn't want to go to the theatre even if it was to see Peppa Pig. The tickets were not cheap and I wanted to help replace her bad memories with good ones so I decided to take positive action. I emailed the Northcott outlining my concerns and what would make the experience more inclusive for Chloe. I heard back straight away from the press officer for the touring show who did everything in his power to help us. We got seats further forward, he arranged for the Company Stage manager to liaise with me and sent us the script. On Friday night over dinner I read through the script with Chloe, explaining exactly what was going to happen, which characters to expect, what the audience would shout out as well as the all important stage directions.This helped to paint a picture in her mind and enabled her to keep up with the story on stage.
A delighted Chloe meeting Mummy and Daddy Pig

What made it really come alive for Chloe was the backstage tour before the show where we met the characters, Chloe touched their noses and shook their hands. She loved  Peppa Pig, particularly as the puppeteer made her giggle. Chloe even repeated some of the lines back to Mummy Pig as they were fresh in her mind., I could see how magical it was for her and during the show she remained transfixed.. She wasn't scared by the noise as she was expecting it- in fact I think she was one of the loudest audience members. She loved being splashed with water and joined in with the songs loudly and out of tune. I am so grateful for the cast and crew of the show for enabling Chloe to take part. She was fully included and responded with joyful enthusiasm which I hope they could see. This is a memory that will stay with us both for a long time. I am proud that I asked on her behalf and so delighted and grateful that the Northcott Theatre and Peppa Pig live team made it happen.

Looking very excited with her new flashing George windmill

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