A Barking theatre is putting on three special performances of its festive Dick Whittington panto for audiences with specific needs.

The tale of the poor country lad who climbs the medieval social ladder to become thrice mayor of the City of London is being staged at the Broadway Theatre this December.

But panto can be “a little overwhelming or challenging” for some, the theatre said, so it is staging three afternoon performances for those with hearing difficulties, epilepsy or autism or adults living with dementia.

A performance with a British Sign Language interpreter on the left of the stage is on Sunday, December 10, at 2pm. A ‘relaxed’ performance is the following Sunday, December 17, at 3pm, while a ‘dementia friendly’ version takes the stage the first Sunday after Christmas, on December 28, at 3pm.

They promise “all the fun and silliness of a traditional pantomime” but are tailored for their audience.

“Our signed performance is exactly the same as any other,” a theatre spokesperson said. “It still has all the daftness and mayhem of a traditional panto — but we’ve added a professional signer for those with hearing impairment.”

A ‘relaxed’ performance also has “all the excitement of pantomime” but more suitable for those needing a calmer environment who may have sensory or communication issues.

There are no flashing lights or pyrotechnics, making it suitable for those with light-sensitive epilepsy and other sensitivities. The volume is also softer and no sudden noises or bangs, with the theatre lights left on.

Anyone needing to take a break in the special performances can step out to the foyer where there is a “calm area” to relax. The theatre has step-free entry to the auditorium, a lift to the bar area and an accessible toilet.

Dick Whittington, played by Will Haswell, opens on December 7 with a schools’ performance. Public shows begin next day, Friday, December 8, running until New Year’s Eve on Sunday, December 31.

Tickets can be bought from the box office on 020 8507 5607 (also to book accessible seating), email boxoffice@thebroadwaybarking.com or from thebroadwaybarking.com website.