Event managing a West End musical is a difficult task at the best of times, what with stage lighting, set design, costume and wardrobe, makeup and countless other aspects to address every evening.
Imagine, then, the additional complicity involved in arranging a special event in which the performers enact their show to an audience comprised entirely of disabled children and their families. That, however, is precisely what happened when the cast and crew of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! took to the stage in December 2013.
Charity Mousetrap Theatre Projects staged the special event, in which a ‘relaxed’ version of the stage show was performed for children with disabilities and learning difficulties, aged from three to seventeen. The charity were able to block-book an entire performance of the musical at a discounted rate, and from there manage the show in order to make it more suitable for their unique audience.
In order to best prepare parents and carers for the event, a scene-by-scene breakdown of the show was released on the charity’s website beforehand, allowing them to identify any potentially problematic scenes ahead of time. The charity had to overcome such obstacles as a grand old theatre brimming with staircases and a light show featuring numerous strobes, but overcome it they did.
The result was an evening that the children and their families alike could enjoy without compromise, with both performers and fellow audience members knowing to expect noise and disruption ahead of time. Critic Robert-Gore Langton described children clapping with delight, mothers dancing in the isles and cast members visibly moved by the experience.
Events such as these remind us of what good event management is capable of, as well as the challenges it can overcome. Here at the R&B group we salute the Mousetrap Theatre Project and all they were able to achieve!