WOW! What a day! When I put forward my interest in tickets for Cirque Du Soleil through RNIB Connect, I really didn’t think I had much chance of winning, nor did I have any idea what the show was. However, I will always jump at the chance of a visit to the Royal Albert Hall as it is such a beautiful building.
After receiving the call to say I had been selected for two tickets I was elated and immediately looked up the show via the Royal Albert Hall website. Again, I have never really sat and looked at the website fully, but it is actually incredibly helpful. I found a whole load of helpful information, right from how to get to the venue, to accessibility. Clicking on ‘Plan your visit’ and then ‘Accessibility’ brings you to a page that ranges from parking and transport to requesting large print programmes and audio description. The Royal Albert certainly goes all out on their website to ensure the upmost support for meeting the needs of anyone with a disability. But, is this all just a posh website offering promises that can’t be met? Absolutely not.
From the moment I stepped into the building I was treated with the upmost respect, care and consideration.
There were no assumptions and various options were given to me, for example, would I like to use the stairs or the lifts? Either way there was someone to help me every step of the way. A very smartly dressed member of staff took us up to our box in the lift, told us where the toilets were, where to hang our coats and more importantly where the refreshments were. The seating area was clean and comfortable and I was guided safely to my seat by a different member of staff.
The Cirque Du Soleil was simply incredible, the performers were dressed as various different insects, their costumes were brightly coloured and eye catching; while each act was individual, there was also a love story being acted out too. The audience were captivated by so many different emotions. Terror, as the acrobats were being thrown like little pieces of paper high up in the celling; laughter, as the fly chased the ladybird desperate to gain her affections; and you could almost hear the whole place hold their breath as the performers leapt from the top of a climbing wall, almost the height of the hall, down onto a trampoline and then springing back up to land on their feet at the top of the wall again, without any effort at all.
The whole performance was exhilarating, exciting, terrifying, romantic and beautiful.
I would certainly recommend it. However, for someone with no sight I can understand that this show might be hard to access, with so much happening and no narrative speech. I would imagine that it would be quite hard for a person to describe the scenes to someone with no sight. The only ‘fault’ if you can really call it that, was that I found, for me personally, sometimes there were too many different things happening on stage. A regular sighted person would have found it easy to absorb all that was happening on stage, but I found I missed things, as I was focused on one or two performers who were still performing, but elsewhere on stage, other performers had started their routines, and I had to be guided to look in the right places. Having said that, the atmosphere was electrifying!
After the show you would think that the corridors would be jammed with people trying to leave, but again a member of staff guided us to the lifts and we were met at on the ground floor by two members of staff who saw us politely, and safely, out of the building. I am a little sad that I didn’t manage to buy a programme.
Huge thanks to RNIB Connect for offering me the opportunity for this experience; a massive thanks to the Royal Albert Hall for being just perfect; and WOW to the OVO Cirque Du Soleil for making me sit on the edge of the seat, as I watched the trust and passion which you all show for each other. Thank you.