Jordyn Pallett already ‘stoked’ for second Relaxed Performance

November 30, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Jordyn Pallett is “stoked” to be returning to Theatre Orangeville’s Relaxed Performance of this year’s Christmas show, A Christmas Story, scheduled specifically on its own date of Tuesday, December 11.

This is not only Jordyn’s second time around to attend the event, it is also the theatre’s second time to present it.

Here is how it works: the show is opened on this extra evening performance to the public, as with the other shows. However, there are differences in the format, which is designed to accommodate people of all ages with special needs. Furthermore,  others who would not normally attend a live theatre production for fear of causing a disturbance because they are bringing very small children or a baby, or for many other reasons, are also welcome.

The changes to the format are not  huge but, perhaps, significant: the lights are not entirely dimmed but left partly up in order for the audience members to be visually reassured. The doors of the theatre are left open for easy and safe exit and re-entry as needed. If needed, there would be adjustments to the sound. It is a performance during which the usual rules about noises and movement are suspended, for the sakes of those whose inclination to make unusual noises are accepted and understood.

So, we had the chance to sit with Jordyn and his mother, Kelli, and Sharyn Ayliffe, the theatre’s Program Manager, to talk about his experience with last year’s relaxed performance and have a conversation about other things.

First off, he told us, “Good, loving Sharyn encouraged us to go and it was so much easier for me to carry on in the theatre when I dysregulated.”

By dysregulated, what he meant, in his own words, is, “having the lights up slightly helps not send my body in fight or flight mode.”

Jordyn is autistic and non-speaking but he is very verbal, sometimes very profound, in what he has to say. He communicates with this mother by use of a letter board, to which he points letter by letter to spell out what he wants to say.

To the world, he reflects his thoughts, ambitions and advice via his computer in blogs. Asked if he enjoyed the relaxed performance last year, he said, “Yes, I loved it… I was a little afraid that I would not be able to do it.”

Becoming dysregulated – “Everybody understands that is a real possibility. Doing big public outings can be stressful just on their own. I can imagine the total stress to keep it together for societal expectations.

“Mommy did need to help me be calm, but now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do it, once, I’m super stoked to go this year because – 100% – more live theatre is in my future. Nelson [his golden labrador service dog] came too.

“Do you think I can sit close this time?”

This autumn, Theatre Orangeville, the Museum of Dufferin and In the Hills celebrated their own anniversaries of 25 years with the celebration of 25 young people of achievement – the 25 under 25, they called it.  Jordyn was one of these. He was nominated by so many people, as well as self-nominated with a wonderful blog, that his entry into this group, for his work as an autism advocate, was assured.

His comment was, “I am an award recipient with 24 other kids under 25 who are future and present change makers.” As he intends to be. As he is.

“I believe that these relaxed performances are so important for people with all kinds of sensory processing challenges because they rarely get to participate in the community with others.”

While A  Christmas Story is not a musical, there is music in it. “This is a memory play,” said Ms. Ayliffe.

The memory of last year is obviously clear to Jordyn, “100% it was hilarious last year. Joyful, yes.”

All the more enticing to come again. “I can tell you I will love it because it is a feel good  Christmas story.”

Did he recommend it to others?

He was quite sure: “I would totally tell people they should go.”

A Christmas Story opens today (Thursday, November 29) and runs until December 23. The Relaxed Performance is on Tuesday, December 11. Though an evening performance, it begins at the earlier time of 7:00 pm.

For details and information about this and all the shows, please go to the Box Office, 87 Broadway or the Information Centre on Buena Vista Drive at Highway 10; by telephone at 519-942-3423 or online

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