Last night we went to our newly refurbished theatre here in Leeds. It always was a great venue, but it is now even better. We went to see a production of Oliver Twist by the production company, Ramps on the Moon. This was not a musical, it was a very dramatic telling of the novel by Charles Dickens. It was very well done indeed. Ramps on the Moon are a production company that work to improve the opportunities for disabled and d/Deaf people in the theatre.
We’ve seen a couple of their performances before and they were both very good so had high hopes for this too. We were not disappointed. The set is stark with the captions incorporated into the set. These weren’t just captions but an integral part of the performance that added to the whole. For example when Oliver asked for more gruel – the word MORE was displayed in huge letters on the screen. The performance also incorporated British Sign language. This works really well in this as it did in the other performances that we’ve seen. As well as these the important issue is really – what was it like? It was great and we left buzzing with enthusiasm and discussing various bits of the performance. The acting was great and the casting of Caroline Parker as a female Fagin was truly inspired. She was magnificent!
It just shows how to make theatre accessible to the largest number of people. Leeds has been at the forefront of creating accessible performances as part of Ramps on the Moon and also in the staging of dementia friendly performances and improved creativity with the audio description of every performance.
I’ve just added this on as it was in one of the National papers yesterday – Sunday. Lovely review from The Observer saying that ‘It is a production that made me realise how much of the time a sighted, hearing audience is experiencing only two- dimensional theatre.’