Show program visual story

Visual Story- The Year of the Cello


The Year of the Cello will have a relaxed run, designed to welcome audience members and their families who could benefit from a more relaxed environment, including Autistic and neurodivergent patrons. The set-up includes: a pre-show introduction to the actors/characters, less intense sound and lighting effects, a very low level house light in the audience, the ability for anyone to come and go from the space, and a calm space outside the theatre.

What is a visual story?

This Package aims to support people with communication difficulties, learning disabilities, English as a second language and Autistic People. It can be used to help anyone access and understand the play.

Thank you to our Access sponsor:
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How to experience The Year of the Cello

The Year of the Cello runs from Oct 15-Oct 29, performance dates and times can be found on our ticketing page. The performance is 55 minutes in length with no intermission. The theatre space will be open to audiences 15 minutes before the performance begins and the Front of House Manager will announce when that is in the lobby. 

If you leave the theatre at any time there is a Relaxed space in the lobby you can visit. Our Relaxed Space is a quiet space equipped with comfortable seating, blankets, and sensory objects for any patrons who need a break from or would like to experience the performance in a more low-intensity environment.

If you ask an usher they will show you to this area.

Relaxed Performance Facilitator – will be in attendance on Oct 15 at 7:30pm Friday Oct 28th 7:30 and Sat Oct 29th at 2:00pm

A Relaxed Performance Facilitator available on specific performances  to provide one-on-one emotional support if requested. The Relaxed Performance Facilitator will be available for participants to talk through any thoughts or emotions that may come up due to the content of the event. They are not a mental health professional but will have mental health resources on hand if further support is needed. This role is similar to what is sometimes referred to as “Peer Support” or  “Active Listener” (in the hearing community).

Performance Advisories & Commonly asked questions

There is description of Child Abuse, detailed descriptions of disease and death. The performance has themes of suicide, grief and loss. There is live Cello music as part of the performance, as well as sound effects of busy streetlife, waves, and eerie cello. 

The Year of the Cello is Blind Friendly. There are descriptions built into the show and with Consultation from Vivian Chong and Jess Watkins this production has been created with an enhanced experience

All performances are relaxed performances.

Content information

In the play the character of Wen is having a conversation with the Cellist and the audience about her life and the life of her love  Li-An who has passed away. Wen describes Wen and Li-An’s childhoods growing up in Hong Kong in the 20’s and a wave of the Bubonic Plague in Hong Kong in 1929.  In Wen’s story the Plague is responsible for the deaths of her own family and Li-Ann’s and many in their area of the city. The pivotal moment Wen is describing in her story is a performance of a cellist on a ferry which Wen and Li-Ann heard and which changed all of their lives and brought them into each other’s lives

A side angle of the stage which is on the ground level. Laundry hangs from upstairs and a old chinese style sofa is situated beside a gramophone

The set, lighting and costumes are designed by Echo Zhou. The stage will be on two levels. On the ground level is a metal wash bin, a gramophone, a bed and a clothesline. The audience will sit on chairs which are on risers and on the ground of the North wall of the backspace theatre.

There are lighting changes in the show, but no times the lighting goes fully black or any strobe lights. A small amount of light will be left on at all times so that if you need to leave the theatre while the performance is happening you will be able to see. 

The characters in the play are Wen (played by Rong Fu) and the Cellist(played by either Bryan Holt OR Brendan Rogers). Wen speaks to the audience and the Cellist directly, while the Cellist ‘speaks’ through playing cello.  Wen talks about her friend who has died who is called Li-Ann. 

Cellos are a stringed instrument, played with a bow. The cello is in the violin family. As a solo instrument the cello can play a range from bass to soprano, in orchestra it often plays the bass part.  Here is a photo of the cellists in rehearsal.

bryan and brendan smile holding their cello. The cello is a large string instrument big enough that you have to rest it on your shoulder when sitted. It has curvy edges and a straight black bar in the centre that holds the strings.

Here is a link to Yo-Yo Ma – Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, Prélude.


Question & Answer (Q&A) – Saturday Oct 22 at 2pm & Saturday Oct 29 at 2pm

There will be a Q&A session with various company members after the performances above. If you stay in your seat after the performance, the person hosting the Q&A will let you know when it will start.

The end of the play

At the end of the play, the audience members might clap to show that they enjoyed the performance, you may join them if you like. A Relaxed Performance Facilitator will be available on specific performance dates if you would like to talk about any emotions that came up while in the performance. 

Venue Guide

ENTRANCE: There is an automatic button at the entrance to the North of the double doors.

WASHROOMS:  Our washrooms are designated as Gender Neutral. Each washroom is equipped with an accessible stall. The single-user washrooms is equipped with an automatic push button.

MAINSPACE: Can accommodate a certain amount of people with mobility devices depending on the staging of the show.

BACKSPACE: Can accommodate two people using wheelchairs or scooters per show. Please call in advance for information about your specific show.

ELEVATOR/ESCALATOR: There are no elevators or escalators at this theatre.

To download the Visual Story for our building click here: TPM Visual Story. Updated 2021