We all recognise and admire those people who put themselves out to get things happening locally, purely for the enjoyment of their community, seeking no thanks or remuneration. And no one does that kind of community spirited work better than the South London Theatre. The SLT has been putting on some of the finest theatre productions you could hope for, better than many of the West End plays people have to sit through, and all for the love of creating something for the common good.

The team of volunteers who run the South LondonTheatre have now launched the visual story for A Christmas Carol by Neil Bartlett; the perfect play for the Christmas season. In fact. Christmas would not be Christmas without A Christmas Carol.

And to ensure that anyone and everyone is welcome to this legendary Dickens masterpiece, the SLT are catering for audience members who may be diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition, anxiety or other sensory and communication disorders. The theatre is just completing a 3 year refurbishment programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund that helped take the building off the theatres at risk register and improve access for patrons with physical disabilities. Aware that not all disabilities are visible, this was not enough for the board of trustees who have worked with members who have Autism to create their own welcome pack. The visual story, tracking the customers journey through the building, will make sure all visitors can make the most of their trip and minimise the impact that entering an unfamiliar place can have on their enjoyment.

Trustee Charlotte Benstead said, ‘We want to make the building a genuinely inclusive space and although we do not have the luxury of being able to offer relaxed performances due to our short production runs, we wanted to make sure that people from our community know they are welcome and we hope our visual story will encourage more people to join us’

The show is one of the all time Christmas Classics and one of Charles Dickens’ most loved tales. Using only Dickens’ extraordinary words and an ensemble of eight actors, the quintessential story of ghosts, greed and goodwill is given boisterous new life in this chilling, contemporary, fresh production.

After the performance there will be an audience collection in aid of Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, registered charity no. 1151274  www.norwoodbrixton.foodbank.org.uk As well as providing emergency food to those in crisis in our local area, the Foodbank provides support and advice to help people find long-term solutions to their problems.

You can also text DINNER 5 to 70085 to donate £5 or DINNER 10 to donate £10. 

The Old Fire Station, 2A Norwood High Street, London SE27 9NS until December 21st. Times: 8pm, 2.30pm weekend matinees. Admission: £12, £9. Phone: 020 3757 6111


Photos: Jonathan Schick