kids

This Aladdin performance will have small changes. But to some people, it means the world.

When Autism Awareness CEO Nicole Rogerson attends an autism-friendly performance of the hit Broadway musical Aladdin next weekend, she will have more than one reason to smile.

It’ll be the second Autism-friendly performance Disney have put on for children who wouldn’t normally be able to see the theatre in all its brightly-lit, loudly-performed glory. And her 21-year-old son will be there beside her, just one of many volunteers giving their time to a cause they think is well worth their energy.

For Rogerson, it’s one well worth hers. As the mother of an child with autism herself, she knows how important it is to have an inclusive and understanding community around parents of children with autism. And that’s exactly where Disney’s Aladdin performance comes in.

On March 4, at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, the cast of Aladdin will come together for one carefully tailored performance.  This is only the second time a theatre production has ever presented an autism-friendly performance in Australia.

“There will be really minor changes to the performance as a whole, but they mean a lot to our families,” Rogerson told Mamamia about the impending production.

“A really big one that people wouldn’t necessarily think of themselves is the theatre lights being left on for families. The changes aren’t so great that it changes the outcome of the magic.”

In addition to the small changes to production, there are also dedicated quiet zones with trained staff should anyone need a break.

Autism Awareness CEO Nicole Rogerson and both her sons, Jack and Tom.

It's been three years since Disney first approached Autism Awareness Australia about putting on specially tailored performances for children who wouldn't usually attend these kinds of events with the general public. At the time, they put on a special performance of The Lion King, and by Rogerson's own admission, the beauty of the entire day meant she "spent the whole time sobbing".

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's a gorgeous day, I can't explain it. It does make you want to cry - how magical it all is.

"When you're standing at the front looking into the audience, and seeing families who don't get this experience, you realise they feel so supported and their kids feel so supported. It's a goosebumpy performance," she says.

And for Belinda Hitchcock, mum of 10-year-old Bradley, the performance at the afternoon as a whole is an experience they don't usually have access to.

Source: Bridges PR.

"My son is 10 and has autism and he loved the Lion King performance," Hitchcock told Mamamia.

"He is very much into music and it related to the movie and he loved that it all tied in so beautifully.

"It's very rare and it's nice to have the opportunity to go to these kinds of things because everyone is in the same boat. If someone is having a meltdown we are ready to give them a helping hand because we all understand what's going on," she adds.

And she's right. According to Rogerson, the performance has an "army of volunteers" ready to catch anyone whenever they need a helping hand.

And although the performance is targeted at children with autism, Rogerson encourages anyone who struggles to access a normal theatre environment to give the performance a shot.

"The performance is also open to people with other disabilities who struggle to access a theatre environment," Rogerson says.

If you're interested in next week's performance, you can find tickets here.

00:00 / ???