Z and I was invited * today to the showing of the first Sen session in wales of a big showing, Madagascar the musical at Wales Millennium Centre.
A sen session is much more relaxed than a normal session. The lights are brighter, lower sound and a little more freedom to move about.
This session is designed for anyone child or adult who has any disabilities, need more support or are on the autism spectrum, like Z! I think as much as Z really seemed to be enjoying today he would have struggled at a normal showing. There were a few times he was waving at the stage saying ‘ola’ and laughing, he got up jumped about and at one point had a full on conversation with the penguins!
You don’t hear of many places running a sen session, I understand than when the a show is on at the theatre that there may not be many days available and the demand for a sen showing wouldn’t always be there.
What I loved today with the millennium centre is it was at 2pm. Right in the middle of the day on a Thursday in the six weeks holidays. Normally events for Sen sessions tend to be after hours, or a Sunday at 4, again after hours. Today it was as if children and adults were wanted, it wasn’t some sort of oh we can make a little extra money after hours, and I think being packed proved a sen session is needed and wanted at a big theatre show.
At the start Marty the Zebra came out and explained that some people would be in costume and some would have puppets, he also said that if it got too much for anyone and they needed a little break then there were quieter areas outside and staff were on hand.
Madagascar the musical is based on the film, Z has never seen the film but he really enjoyed it.
I’m sure everyone has seen Madagascar because even I have!
It’s based on four animals, Alex ( Matt Terry ) the lion, Marty ( Posi Morakinyo) a zebra, Melman (Connor Dyer) the giraffe, Gloria ( Hannah Victoria) the hippo and some penguins living in New York Central Park Zoo.
Marty the Zebra wants to go and explore Alex, Gloria and Melman end up following him and ended up on the island of Madagascar.
The actors were brilliant, I’m guessing it must be more distracting for them with people moving about and some noise but not once did it look like it bothered them.
I loved the costumes and how the puppets worked alongside them. The energy of the characters seemed to bounce over to the audience, there was hand flapping, stimming, clapping, dancing and lots of smiles.
I’m guessing this may have been some of the audience first time at the theatre, and I think giving children and young adults the chance to go and be themselves is brilliant, there was no judging, no tutting from other people no staring. We were all together, all in the same position and all with smiles on our faces, well until King Julian sang ‘We like to move it move it!’ Most were dancing Z put his fingers in his ears, but he was smiling and didn’t attempt to run out of the room.
Thank you Wales Millennium Centre for giving so many people the chance of going to the theatre.
The show is on until Sunday 11th August and you can buy tickets here prices start at £18
* I was given tickets in exchange for an honest review.