April was Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch housed an arts exhibition by RAGS (Romford Autistic Group Support) which was open for the public. It displayed artwork created by adults and young people with Autism.

Every year RAGS presents an Autism Awareness Award to a person or organisation that has supported the group and helped to raise awareness of Autism in the community. This year, it was awarded to the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch for their continued support to RAGS over the past few years. The award was presented to the theatre by the Mayor of Havering, Linda Van den Hende, on Saturday 28 April.

Speaking on behalf of RAGS, Jackie Perryman says, ‘We are pleased to award the Queen’s Theatre for 2018, they have been very supportive of RAGS and as a small charity with no regular funding, this is much appreciated. The art exhibition has been held regularly almost every year at the Queen’s Theatre allowing the public and theatregoers to view the children’s artwork. It is a very valuable event to us and all helps to raise awareness of Autism within our community. The theatre has been most generous in offering our families seats at their pantomime and also providing Autism-friendly performances to families who would normally avoid this type of activity. A huge thank you to all at the Queen’s Theatre for your support to RAGS.’

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch was delighted to receive the award in recognition of its continuing work towards ensuring the theatre is accessible for everyone. This includes providing Relaxed Performances of its annual pantomime since 2016. A Relaxed Performance is a specially adapted performance tailored for anyone who would benefit from a quieter and supportive environment including people with Autism, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities or Dementia.

RAGS was founded in 2003 by a group of Havering parents who have children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It became a registered charity in 2009 and is dedicated to helping families in Havering.

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