I can’t quite believe that I am already writing the fourth blog in my ‘Autism Review’ series. So far we have covered Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Kitty Café Birmingham and the Seaside. This blog will focus on how accessible Mischief Movie Night In is for autistic people.
Mischief Movie Night In is an improvised show where Mischief Theatre (The Play That Goes Wrong, Groan Ups, The Goes Wrong Show) take suggestions from the audience and improvise a whole movie live on stage. This current run is Thursdays to Sundays from 1st July to 1st August.
I have chosen to review this particular show as it is very different to other theatre performances.
There are 3 ways that you can participate in Mischief Movie Night In:
- In person in the audience,
- On the virtual Zoom panel
- Through a link that you can access at home.
This particular review will focus on watching through the link at home as this is how I have experienced several Mischief Movie Night In shows.
Before the show:
Whilst there isn’t a specific area for accessibility for the show on the website (www.mischiefmovienightin.com) there is still a lot of information that can help you to understand more about what to expect and how to access the show.
There is clear information on:
- The different ways to watch the show,
- What you need to have if you want to be on the Zoom panel,
- How to access the link to watch from home,
- How the show itself works with making suggestions,
- What to do if you have any issues.
It is also detailed on the website that there are some shows that have been made even more accessible with the inclusion of BSL Interpreters and Closed Captions on select shows. Please note that you need to select the ticket you want so make sure you select the right one.
Once you have booked your ticket you will receive an email reminding you of all the information you need to watch the show, so you have something to refer back to. You also receive a reminder email a few hours before with the information included again.
During the show:
One thing that I find really difficult about attending theatre shows in person can be how crowded the entrances, exits and corridors get throughout the experience. However, being able to experience the show from home means that you don’t need to navigate crowded theatres. This, for me, is one of the main accessibility points that will be of great benefit for autistic people.
The audience have a lot of input into the performance with the Zoom panel providing suggestions for the genre and location of the film, the in-person audience providing suggestions for the title of the film and the audience at home providing suggestions for characters and awards the film might have won on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This is fantastic in terms of accessibility as it means that you can feel involved in the process without being in the room and trying to understand the social cues needed.
Having to sit still and not stim for long periods of time can prove to be distressing for autistic people. However, by being in their own environment, there is the opportunity to move around during the show without feeling like you are being judged by other members of the audience. It also means that you will be able to use any sensory toys and take sensory breaks if needed. The performance is live so any breaks taken do mean that you would miss part of the show. However, the full performance lasts just over 1 hour meaning that it is much shorter than a normal theatre show.
As always I want to focus on the sensory elements of the performance and how accessible they are:
- Sound – watching the show on your own device gives you control over the sound levels throughout the performance. When the show first starts the noise levels are quite high so this is something to take into consideration when watching but this is only for a short time during the introduction.
- Lights – the lighting levels are consistent throughout with the main changes being when a blackout is used occasionally in scene changes. I personally find the lighting really accessible in Mischief Movie Night In as normally I find it difficult with the bright lights in a theatre that occasionally are shone into the audience meaning I need to cover my eyes.
- Temperature – being able to regulate temperature or recognising when you are too hot or cold can be difficult for autistic people. This can be especially difficult in older theatres that don’t have the systems in place to regulate temperature. Being at home means you are in control of this.
Overall, I think that Mischief Movie Night In is very accessible for autistic people. However, I do recognise that as capacity audiences are allowed back into theatres that this is a show that may not run in this way much longer.
I do hope that following the success of this show that Mischief Theatre will look into running Autism Friendly performances in theatres in the future.