Wednesday, 24 August 2011

It's a Wicked Discrimination

While we were in London, Holly and I went to see the musical Wicked.

Holly had seen it before when she was in London with the school and had loved it. I knew of the music because the choir that I sang with sang one of the songs and it really struck a chord with me. I loved the words and it made me think of my mum, who had just died at the time and now I sing it to Jack all the time and he listens intently, never breaking eye contact.

Just before we were due to go to London I was invited to a Facebook page called Wicked Discrimination. Curious, I clicked on it and straight away recognised Gregor, who used to go to school with Jack.  Gregor who is 12 has a condition called Neuronal Migration Disorder, has Epilepsy and Autism.  Gregor is unable to speak but communicates with vowel sounds. Gregor is a very happy and loving little boy and he used to make a bee line for Holly when she passed by the playground on her way to buy lunch with her friends from the High School. He particularly liked getting hugs from her.

Gregor and his family were excited to go and see Wicked on a recent trip to London. They had been watching the show for about 15 minutes when they were approached by the Manager who suggested they be moved to the back of the stalls behind a glass partition as the Sound Engineer was complaining that Gregor was making too much noise. When the family raised their objections to this, it was suggested that they sit on the stairs, away from other theatre goers so as not to disturb them! Gregor's dad, Glyn was so disgusted that he felt that there was no option but to leave the theatre.

People around them were equally appalled as Gregor had NOT been disturbing them at all and the family day out to the theatre turned out to be a very upsetting time for Gregor and his dad who left the theatre while his wife and daughter stayed behind. What a horrific way to treat this young boy.

Having read about this it didn't put me off going to see Wicked because Glyn and his family made it clear that the cast were in no way to blame for this disgusting incident but that the management of the situation was badly handled. Plus I wanted to see for myself how something like this could possibly happen.

We loved the show. It made me laugh and cry but I couldn't help but sit there and wonder how the hell they could have singled out Gregor when Holly and I were unfortunately sitting next to a couple who spoke throughout the performance and the lady of the couple had her phone on and the light was very distracting. Behind us, another couple spent a good five minutes rummaging in a carrier bag for god knows what and the many kids in the audience were at times quite vocal. No one paid any heed to any of these distractions so how could the Sound Engineer pick out one single person in a theatre that big was beyond me.

At the end of the show, at the Merchandise stand, Holly and I were discussing it and we turned to the girl behind the counter expressed our disbelief to which she nodded her head.

The upshot of this story is that Glyn and his family have turned this distressing situation into a positive one by working together with the group who own the Theatre, ATG, to ensure that disabled people are welcomed into theatres, are able to access the Arts and that companies like ATG have a better understanding of illnesses  such as Autism.

The irony is that the show Wicked is about someone who is victimised because they are different.

This is the link to the Facebook page: and this is a link to the newspaper coverage:

There is another plus side to this story and this is it:

I think all of these efforts by Gregor's family can only be a good thing.


  1. That is a truly awful way to treat that boy and his family. I'd like to say unbelievable but unfortunately it isn't. Most places will call themselves 'disability friendly' but they think in terms of wheelchair access etc. This needs highlighting and well done to you and Glyn for doing just that. Good luck.

    By the way, I adore musicals and Wicked is one that, sadly, I haven't seen. Yet!

    xx Jazzy

  2. My very first thought when you said they singled out Gregor was that there are so many people who do nothing but text, talk and carry on in a theatre - how dare they single out him? SHAME on them! Then you confirmed it when you described your experience.

    I am glad you enjoyed the show - I have never seen it, nor know the story, but the irony you mentioned is not lost.

  3. Grrrrrrr! I hate Gregor and his family had to endure such boorish and uniformed and bigoted behavior. Hopefully that manager gets a lesson somewhere in his life that will lead him to an understanding of how awfully HE behaved.

    Glad you loved son took his wife to see it in NY for her 30th birthday and they were thrilled with it!

    Hugs to all~

  4. Enjoyed chatting with you this morning. Hope the rest of your week goes well for you Holly & Jack.

  5. I am so sorry Gregor was treated in this unfair manner. But I'm glad his parents were able to change things for the better.
    I'm glad you enjoyed the play. It sounds wonderful.

  6. The Arts should be about bringing people together, not discriminating against them. It was nice to see that there was a happy ending.

  7. So glad such good has come from this situation. I'm not sure I could have been as gracious as Gregor's parents.

  8. So glad such good has come from this situation. I'm not sure I could have been as gracious as Gregor's parents.

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  10. jazzygirl - it is awful and you are so right about places thinking they are disability friendly when they are so far removed from that in every way. Wicked is a not to be missed musical. It's very funny.
    SkippyMom - that was one of the reasons that I wanted to go cos I just couldn't understand how it could be!
    Sush - me too. Karma is a boomerang, if you throw it out there it'll come back to you.
    Odie - and you too Odie, always a pleasure :)
    Belle - I think it was the right thing to do, make a positive out of a negative
    Twilightgazing - I totally agree
    Confessions of a Closet Hoarder - yes I am not sure I could have been like them either
    Anon - you're welcome


Laughter is the best medicine and it's free. Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to hearing from you.

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