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Bloomsbury hosts autism-friendly Tempest

Published 20 October 2015

Greg Hicks will star in Shakespeare’s The Tempest when Kelly Hunter brings her production for children with autism and their families to the Bloomsbury Theatre Studio this weekend.

The Flute Theatre production, which sees the RSC regular take on the role of Caliban, will play two performances at the venue on 25 October.

The show sees 15 children on the autism spectrum become participants in the performance, sitting among six actors around a painted floor cloth acting as Prospero’s island. With parents and carers sitting just behind them, the children are invited to join the performers as the story unfolds through sensory games.

While the games and narrative remain the same for each performance, the show is different every time as the children are able to assert their own personalities in the performance space.

Hunter’s production, which is suitable for children aged eight and older, premiered in 2014 in Stratford-upon-Avon as a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ohio State University.

Now set to play as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, The Tempest has won admiration from children and adults alike, with one parent describing the experience as “a warm, nurturing and totally accepting space where the children were able to just be exactly as they wanted.”

Hicks, whose previous roles for the RSC include King Lear, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, the latter of which earned him an Olivier Award nomination, will be joined in the cast by Eva Lily Tausig, Chris MacDonald, Tricia Gannon, Roslyn Patterson and Sifiso Mazibuko.

Tickets for the production can be booked by calling 020 3108 1000 or emailing boxoffice@thebloomsbury.com

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