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By Open Air Theatre
Published: 24 September 2018
This season marks our ninth year of partnership with Mousetrap Theatre Projects. Founded in 1997, Mousetrap enriches the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people by offering free and heavily subsidised tickets to London theatre, breaking down the financial, social and practical barriers that often prevent them from engaging with the arts.
True to the diversity of the Open Air Theatre’s programme, we have given Mousetrap access to a wide range of productions since 2011 including: Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird (both are GCSE set texts); and our Olivier award-winning revivals of Into The Woods, Crazy for You and Jesus Christ Superstar. All schools who come to us via Mousetrap are invited to join in with any existing education projects, such as our lively post-performance Q&A sessions with members of the Peter Pan company earlier this summer.
The quality of productions - "I never thought I could be moved by the story of Peter Pan, but the way they linked it into the First World War…was so powerful. I loved the show so much” – and open air nature of our venue – “The outdoors location was wonderful and the play was made even more enjoyable by the backdrop of a summer sunset” – combine to make a memorable performance for those who rarely, or never, have the chance to go to the theatre.
Take a look below for more information about the projects we support:
Helping schools to overcome crippling budget cuts which make it increasingly harder to gain approval for school trips, theatreopeners offers heavily subsidised tickets to mainstream state secondary schools, prioritising those with a high percentage of students on Free School Meals.
For special schools, complex access requirements often prove a barrier to cultural visits. As part of our ongoing commitment to making the Open Air Theatre accessible to all, theatrejourneys offers supported visits to special schools and provides them with pre-visit activities to enhance their understanding of the different elements involved in theatre. This is supplemented by our own Venue Fact Pack and Production Fact Pack. One teacher who brought pupils to a performance of Peter Pan commented “I had anticipated some might have a bit of difficulty following, it being a story within a story but this was unfounded, mainly as a result of the fabulous resources sent in advance. It was really due to these that the play was so accessible so thank you.”
Beyond its work with schools, Family First Nights helps make theatre accessible for low-income families, many of which have never been to the theatre before. Ahead of their visit to the Open Air Theatre, we provided these families with detailed information on what to expect from their visit to help calm any apprehensions they might have (especially important given the unique nature of our venue). We also provided them with discount vouchers for The Grill to allow them to enjoy the whole Open Air Theatre experience.
Alongside our discounted education tickets, BREEZE membership scheme and under 18 ticket offer, our relationship with Mousetrap is an important part of widening our audience and reaching young people from across London. We look forward to working with them for many summers to come.