A Best mum’s tweet about her son’s experience with us has gone viral. This is the tweet that caused the excitement from @naomi_rovnick said:- “My boy is autistic and his drama group have adapted Twelfth Night to write a part for him where he runs on stage and interrupts the dialogue to reel off lists of facts about the play. Knowing loads of facts is his superpower. He loves his part.”
At the time of writing, the tweet has gathered over 1 million views, 106K likes and 5k retweets, as well as hundreds of comments wishing Naomi’s son well and praising the school in question, Best Theatre Arts. One responder even said:-
“I read this after listening to the farce in Parliament and was wallowing in despair. This was a beam of sunlight. An affirmation of human decency. The confirmation that this is a country we can be proud to live in because of it’s people and despite its leadership” (@GlynGriffiths7)
The reaction has largely been praise for an act of creative inclusivity. So often the individual needs of children can be swamped by the need to conform, to follow syllabuses or to follow the herd. There are few opportunities to express individualism, especially for those with differing needs such as autistic children. By creating and adapting plays and classes to embrace differing casts, ages and needs over the years, Best Theatre Arts has tried to open up just these kinds of opportunities for its students.
We are so pleased Naomi’s son is so happy. The creation of this role is a small act of thoughtfulness by our wonderful teacher, Dawn Hudson, but it totally affirms everything we believe in – that all children should have the chance to find their light. Best was founded on that principle 24 years ago and it remains our central tenet today. Every child is different and special and it is that diversity that makes each of our groups unique and rich.
Our proudest moments have largely gone unnoticed by the audience – often a child doing something that might have seemed impossible, or at least unlikely. For example, one of our students when aged 4 spent much of his time hiding under a table. Eleven years later he was leading our cast at the National Theatre. But everywhere there are small steps, little victories, meaningful moments. And these are positive, confidence-building experiences the students take with them into the rest of their lives.