Sunday, 5 October 2014

First Time Theatre-Goers at Sherman Cymru

Sherman 5 Night
Romeo and Juliet
Sherman Cymru, Theatre 1
Friday 3rd October

As Sherman Cymru launch their new season, the first of new Artistic Director Rachael O’Riordan, it was great to see the theatre full of people. Only this wasn’t the usual theatre-going crowd. Instead Sherman Cymru opened their doors to local people who had never seen a production on their stages.

The new audience was invited as part of the Sherman 5 scheme. Sherman 5 is headed up by Guy O’Donnell, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and is designed to reach out to people in the locality who have never been to the theatre before. With the focus on disadvantaged groups, Sherman 5 will initially be focussing on the Communities First areas in Cardiff, which according to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation are in the top 10% of social deprivation.

The scheme offers discounted tickets on special Sherman 5 nights and even offers a discount on the bar and theatre snacks.

As the first Sherman 5 event of the season a special preview performance of Romeo and Juliet was staged, allowing the first-timers to see the show before anyone else. Even the press have to wait a few more days! (I’ll be publishing a review of the press night next week)

On arrival there was a drinks reception and each audience member was given a pack. This special pack contained the programme for the show, a welcome to Sherman 5, a membership card and a sheet of frequently asked questions about attending the theatre.

During the show itself it was great to feel the excitement of the audience. There were a few shout-outs and more miovement in and out of the auditorium than usual but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The applause at the end showed true appreciation for the production.

After the main event there was cake and live music. The foyer became a vibrant social space with people chatting about the show and planning what to see next.

Going to the theatre as often as I do it has become a common-place thing for me. Yet I couldn’t help but be swept up with the feeling of a special occasion. It was great to be reminded how exciting it can be to go and see a show, just to be in a theatre.

Sherman Cymru did a great job of making the space accessible to all, the staff (as always) were really helpful and approachable, removing any idea that the theatre isn’t for everyone. I really hope this scheme will bring more people into the Sherman and will encourage these audiences to see the great range of theatrical work being produced in Cardiff.

To find out more about Sherman 5 click here.
And if you’d like to know more about this production of Romeo and Juliet follow this link.

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