Shakespeare’s New Place, the site of Shakespeare’s adult home in Stratford-upon-Avon will be taking part in the first UK-wide Autism Hour on Monday, 2 October.
From 10am – 11am, the exhibition centre at Shakespeare’s New Place will become autism-friendly, with the lights dimmed and audio-visual elements turned down in an effort to create a welcoming environment for autistic visitors and their families.
Autism Hour is organised by the National Autistic Society to raise awareness of autism. More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum which means that someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and struggle to filter out the sounds, smells and sights they experience, feeling overwhelmed by ‘too much information’ when out in public, and sometimes avoid public spaces all together.
Chloe Malendewicz, Manager of Shakespeare’s New Place, said, “We’re delighted to take part in the first national autism hour. Our staff and volunteers already receive training to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for all visitors, regardless of their background or ability. We hope that by taking small steps we’re able to provide an enjoyable and enriching experience for autistic visitors who may often become overwhelmed by loud sounds or overly-stimulating environments.”
Cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s New Place re-opened last summer as a major new heritage landmark and cultural destination created to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The £6m re-presentation of the site of Shakespeare’s family home is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, the Wolfson Foundation, and through public donations. Over the past 12 months over 150,000 visitors from all over the world have walked through the grand oak and bronze gatehouse to explore the site where Shakespeare’s home once stood, admiring the gleaming contemporary artworks, beautiful gardens and discovering the story of Shakespeare’s adult life through daily talks and trails, and in the exhibition centre.
Shakespeare’s New Place is fully accessible to the physically disabled, with gradient landscaping, wider footpaths to accommodate wheelchair and buggy users and a lift in the exhibition centre to access the second floor. It is also a Dementia-friendly venue.
Stratford-upon-Avon residents (CV37) can visit Shakespeare’s New Place for free with proof of address. For more information and to plan your visit, see www.shakespeare.org.uk.