Words: Chloe Shimmin
Dive is a sensory experience for young audiences, suitable for those with or without additional needs. This inclusive and accessible experience allows children to play and immerse themselves under the sea.
Led by three characters, the children are welcomed into Bijou, an intimate and striking Spiegel tent outside Assembly Rooms. They are allowed to play with the cast and their toys which include bubbles, lights and foam. Lights reflect up on the ceiling that give the impression of being underwater and the calming, soothing music incorporates bubbles and sea sounds too. Easing the children into the environment as they come in allows the children and families to settle in and feel comfortable in the new exciting space.
Once the performance begins, the children and families sit in a circle of chairs around the stage. The three performers then play almost in the round. Though for adults it can be rather slow, the children are mesmerized by glow lights, music and singing.
The story is basic, as the focus is on the sensory experience. The divers go under water to Coral Cove, meeting chatting clams, electric eels, and swimming through seaweed forests… all of which the children get to touch, feel and play with. Innovative props made with DIY materials ignite imaginations and transport us into the deep sea.
The small audience size means every child gets a personalised experience. The actors are incredibly good at reacting to children individually, sensing when they might feel uncomfortable and taking a step back where necessary.
There are a multitude of senses ignited in this experience and I implore those with young children or sensory difficulties to go to this inclusive, relaxed and enjoyable show.
Assembly Rooms, Bijou