Disney’s Beauty and The Beast Announces Relaxed Performance in Partnership with Aspect

Gareth Jacobs, Hayley Martin, Rohan Browne, Jayde Westaby and Alana Tranter in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast the Musical – performing Human Again – Photo by Daniel Boud

Beauty and the Beast

In Partnership With Autism Spectrum Australia

Disney Theatrical Productions is proud to be partnering with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), the Capitol Theatre and Ticketmaster to offer a relaxed performance of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday the 18th of November at 1:30 pm. This unique and inclusive performance will be tailored, from start to finish, to support audience members who may need specific support.

A relaxed performance means that audience members will be encouraged to be completely themselves during the performance; to make sounds, move around, fidget or use noise cancelling headphones.

Aspect’s Autistic staff assessed the show and recommended modifications for the relaxed performance so people with sensory sensitivities are considered and cared for at all touchpoints. Adjustments include a visual story that explains the show step by step, inclusive and welcoming language used on the official website and during the ticket buying process, increased staff and volunteers to assist audience members, turning off all announcements throughout the theatre, and providing a quiet room and quiet spaces equipped with sensory coping tools. Amendments to the production for the cast and crew include noise reduction, keeping the house lights dim during the performance, and employing visual cues to act as a ‘pre-warning’ mechanism prior to potentially overwhelming scenes or moments.

Shubshri Kandiah and Brendan Xavier in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. Pic credit Daniel Boud

A short pre-show welcome has been designed to introduce the audience to certain characters and stage effects that may be sensorially significant in advance. For example, the character of Lumiere’s hands are candles that light up with real fire, which will be explained in an approachable and respectful way to get the audience ready for the performance ahead.

The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, said: “The Walt Disney Company is proud to have worked alongside our incredible partners in Aspect, the Capitol Theatre and Ticketmaster to offer a relaxed performance of Beauty and the Beast. This tale as old as time is powerful and inspiring and we’re excited it can be offered in accessible and inclusive ways for everyone to enjoy.”

Aspect’s Autistic Consultant Emma Gallagher added; “As an Autistic consultant, it was my pleasure to attend a regular session of Beauty and the Beast in order to provide feedback on the show and the experience along with another Autistic colleague. We conducted this assessment in order to make recommendations on modifications that will allow Autistic people and others with a disability to be able to access and enjoy the show. Representatives from Disney and the Capitol Theatre have welcomed all feedback and worked hard to ensure that feedback from Autistic people is highly valued and have implemented many changes that will make the relaxed session a fun experience for those who may not be able to attend a regular session due to sensory overload. I am looking forward to attending the relaxed session knowing I have a quiet space when I need it.”

Tickets to the relaxed performance will be available across three price points, $50, $80 and $120 with no additional ticketing fees.  All ticketing fees for this performance will be donated by Foundation Theatres and Ticketmaster to Aspect.

In November, Beauty and the Beast will also host Audio Described and Auslan Interpreted performances. More information about these performances can be found at beautyandthebeastmusical.com.au/accessibility-inclusion/

Tickets are on sale now exclusively via Ticketmaster.

About Aspect

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest autism-specific service provider, with one of the biggest autism-specific school programs in the world. A not-for-profit organisation, Aspect works in partnership with people of all ages on the autism spectrum, and their families to deliver evidence-informed solutions that are person-centred, family-focused and customer driven. Aspect’s services provide people on the autism spectrum with the opportunity to realise their unique potential, as well as providing much-needed support to their families, carers, friends and colleagues. Aspect’s vision is to provide the best possible opportunities for people on the spectrum. They believe that people on the autism spectrum are a different brilliant®.  For more information please visit www.autismspectrum.org.au

About Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway (before closing in 2007) and remains to this day one of the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history. The 2017 live-action retelling of the animated classic starring Emma Watson quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time, a record beaten only by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.

The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history. Only once before – in Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid – had a Disney film been structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions. This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (Aladdin, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Frozen) this new production of Beauty and the Beast brings back members of the original creative team from the ground-breaking Broadway musical to reimagine this much-loved classic tale. Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs, leading a team that includes original composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, book writer Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer and lighting designer Natasha Katz.

This new stage production of Beauty retains the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony® award nominated score – which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, and the production features new dance arrangements by David Chase.  Completing the design team, Tony® award winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production.

The stellar Australian principal cast includes Shubshri Kandiah as Belle, Brendan Xavier as Beast, Rohan Browne in the role of Lumiere, Jackson Head as Gaston, Gareth Jacobs as Cogsworth, Jayde Westaby as Mrs Potts, Nick Cox as Le Fou, Rodney Dobson as Belle’s father, Maurice, Hayley Martin as Babette and Alana Tranter as Madame.

Beauty and the Beast is produced in Australia by The Walt Disney Company and Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher

The Australian premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

For more information, please visit www.beautyandthebeastmusical.com.au.

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