For a lot of people a visit to the theatre includes buying a ticket to their show of choice and forgetting about it till a few days before they have to work out all the details of how they are getting there and where they are sitting etc
For me personally once I buy a ticket the journey never stops until after the performance itself has taken place.
February 11th, 2014 was my first visit to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne in person but in a way I felt as though I had that familiarity.
The familiarization for the week of February 11th to 14th had actually begun back in October of 2013.
Tickets Bought: Oct 10th
Initial Email to Theatre: Oct 11th
Accommodation Booked: Oct 11th
Travel Booked: Oct 29th
On top of this I saved maps of Melbourne CBD mapping routes, transport maps and colour coordinated my seats on the theatre seating plan among other things.
You are probably wondering what I mean by initial email to the theatre, aren’t you?
On Oct 11th I emailed the theatre where the show I was going to see was being performed, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. In this initial email I asked the questions I felt I needed answers to to make my visit easier.
Fast forward to February 11th, I walked over the road (literally) to the theatre and into the stage door area to meet with Derek, the theatre manager who I had shared much email correspondence with.
He showed me firstly where to collect my tickets but also which doors I was to go into each time, where things like the bathrooms were and I was able to ask questions. From that moment I knew this was as corny as it sounds going to be one of my best experiences ever.
During my week the theatre staff continually made sure I was ok pre show and at interval.
After the shows I was able to meet and catch up with many of the fabulous cast of Grease at the stage door. Many people know these beautiful guys and girls hold a special place in my heart not only because they are all ridiculously talented performers but because of their hearts and attitudes.
The interactions and funny moments I have shared with these guys will stick with me for a long time but what sticks with me more is the fact that many if not the majority of these guys knew I have Aspergers, some only fairly recently some have known since the first time we met.
Among chatting about circus and the show I was able to have that conversation about Autism and it’s impact on my life an how theatre helps with a few of the cast.
This has been a common thread I have found as Autism slowly becomes a non taboo subject, many people actually wish to learn and also help me learn.
Theatre in Australia is in great hands with the cast or Grease among many others helping in awareness.
With the Lion King and its autism awareness performance later this year it is hoped that many other shows follow suite to give those that do have trouble with mainstream productions the chance to attend this magical world of theatre.
LAURA MURPHY (JAN)