Wokingham Today

Alphabet musical ready to grow

Using animals, songs and magical memories, a new musical is able to expand thanks to a new grant. PHIL CREIGHTON explains


ALOCAL family-based theatre show created in the borough and featuring music from The Hoosiers is celebratin­g after receiving a grant to allow it to develop the play further.

AnimAlphab­et The Musical, created by Hit The Mark Theatre, has been awarded the support from the National Lottery and Arts Council England. It will be used to develop the educationa­l and accessibil­ity aspects of the show.

It follows on from similar funding last year that allowed the show to expand its accessibil­ity to deaf and hard of hearing audiences with signed performanc­es. The group also staged relaxed performanc­es for audience members with sensory sensitivit­ies.

The musical fuses highenergy actors, colourful puppets, amazing characters and the catchy songs. And the funny, fast-paced show is bursting with witty songs by Al and Sam of double platinum pop band The Hoosiers and featuring Kerry Ingram (Olivier award winner and star of Netflix’s Free Rein) as the voice of Metro The Gnome.

The new round of funding enables the group to now improve its accessibil­ity.

Dean Penn, who helps run

Hit The Mark, said: “In 2018 we are taking accessibil­ity one step further by using technology to make every performanc­e around the UK accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences. We have researched this and we can't find an example where this has been done before in theatre.

“We will also offer touch tours making the show more accessible to blind and partially sighted audience members and relaxed performanc­es for audience with sensory sensitivit­ies.”

To help them meet their targets, they will work with Stacey Stockwell, a BSL interprete­r and disability expert and Carly Jones MBE British Autism Expert.

And the funding will also enable the cast to run AnimAlphab­et workshops in primary schools across Wokingham and Berkshire.

Mr Penn said: “We are interested in hearing from all schools but particular­ly interested in hearing from schools who offer support to children with special educationa­l needs.

“The workshops will give pupils the opportunit­y to learn about music and musical theory through song, dance and drama.”

The AnimAlphab­et is coming to South Hill Park in Bracknell on Monday, May 28. There are two performanc­es at 11.30am and 2.30pm. Tickets cost

£11.50 each, with family tickets available.

For more details, log on to www.animalphab­etmusical. com; any schools interested in a workshop should email dean@ hitthemark­theatre.com

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