People’s Light plans holiday panto, Jan. 9

eetW0DELMALVERN — People’s Light will offer a relaxed performance of The Three Musketeers (The Later Years): A Musical Panto on Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at 2 pm on the Leonard C. Haas Stage. Relaxed performances are specially adjusted sensory-friendly shows, designed to create a theatre experience that is judgment-free, and welcoming of children and families with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, including, but not limited to individuals on the autism spectrum. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355.

To nurture an inclusive environment for all patrons, especially those with special needs, etiquette associated with standard theatre attendance will be relaxed, for example, patrons may vocalize, maneuver, and move from their seats during the performance, as needed. Specific adjustments include availability of designated quiet, and safe areas with bean bag chairs in the theatre lobby; fidget and stress sensory toys available to borrow; house lights kept up partially during the entire performance and lowered sound levels; a reduction of strobe lighting; space throughout the theater for standing and movement; and gluten-free concession options. People’s Light staff and artists are trained to be inviting and accommodating to families’ needs. Social stories and further details will be available on the theatre website and sent to ticket holders via email prior to the show to prepare audiences for their experience at the theatre.

The Panto is a tradition borrowed from England, where almost every town has a Panto during the holiday season. Pantos are a mix between a fractured fairy tale and a variety show, using familiar stories to form the basis for exaggeration, outrageous jokes, and rollicking songs and dances. They incorporate specific elements, including “the dame” (a man dressed as a woman), audience participation (in the form of cheering the heroes and booing the villains), a “messy bit,” candy passed out to the audience, and a “silly song” that inspires an audience sing-along.

The Three Musketeers is a hilarious musical adventure The Philadelphia Inquirer calls “outrageously silly.” Athos, Porthos, Aramis and a chicken hunt for justice against the evil Lord Mazarotti. Complete with plumed hats and sword fights, The Three Musketeers will have you shouting “All for one and one for all!”

Director Pete Pryor adds, “We are so proud to be presenting a relaxed performance of The Three Musketeers. Last season we were the first theatre in the Philadelphia area to successfully sponsor a relaxed performance; this was for our holiday production of Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon. The event was a great success and we are thrilled to be able to make this season’s production accessible to more individuals and families who may have additional needs. The panto is a natural fit for these performances because at its heart, a panto is an inclusive family event. The show is a celebration and the more people we can include in the party, the better!”

People’s Light has a history of working with children with cognitive disabilities. As part of the Theatre’s ongoing residencies at The Pathway School in Norristown, PA and General Wayne Elementary in Malvern, PA, professional artists and resident company members work with students with complex learning disabilities, neurological impairment and a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders.

People’s Light staff and artists have consulted with Dr. Roger I. Ideishi, Program Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy at Temple University to prepare for the performance. Dr. Ideishi explains, “Individuals with sensory, social, and cognitive challenges and their families are often isolated from community experiences due to social and environmental challenges. Individuals and families are often judged by the public or community venue who don’t understand their situation, or the sensory environment is too overwhelming. Sensory friendly experiences provide opportunities for individuals and families to have community exposure that they would not otherwise have had. Community exposure and familiarity can foster interests and reduce the anxiety and fears of entering community spaces. Sensory friendly experiences are emerging around the world as a means for community inclusion and integration including Australia, United Kingdom, France, and the U.S.” In addition to his work at Temple, Dr. Ideishi consults with cultural institutions across the country to help offer relaxed and sensory-friendly experiences.

The relaxed performance during last year’s Panto was positively received by the young people and adults in attendance, including a boy named Avery who was 6 years old at the time and had his picture taken with the cast. Avery’s mother, Amanda Snyder shares, “The relaxed performance at People’s Light was such an amazing experience for Avery and our family because we were all able to enjoy it without judgment. I love theater and I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to share that joy without worrying about breaking theater etiquette. Thank you People’s Light!”


Tickets to the relaxed performance of The Three Musketeers (The Later Years): A Musical Panto are $15 including fees with the promo code RELAX15. To purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 610.644.3500. If you have specific questions regarding this performance or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Marcie Bramucci, Director of Community Investment, at 610.647.1900 ext. 143.


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