Relaxed Performances are designed to welcome audience members and their families who could benefit from a more relaxed environment, including those on the autism spectrum. 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.
Photo by Michael Cooper | John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid in John and Waleed | Set & Costume Design by Joanna Yu | Projection & Lighting Design by Kaitlin Hickey | Associate Video Designer: Lily Ross-Millard
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Relaxed Performances:
Why might I want to go to a Relaxed Performance?
Many people may choose to attend a Relaxed Performance, either as an access requirement or because they like the inclusive environment.
Relaxed Performances take a laid-back approach to noises or movement coming from the audience. They give everyone permission to relax and respond naturally. Many people feel that Relaxed Performances offer a more dynamic theatrical experience, which benefits everyone.
What makes a Relaxed Performance ‘relaxed’?
Relaxed Performances don’t need to be complicated. The responsibility for making a show ‘relaxed’ is shared by the audience, the venue and the performers. The elements that are included are:
- A clear explanation for all audience members about what a Relaxed Performance is when you book your tickets
- Pre-show information describing what to expect from the show
- Staff who take an inclusive approach from start to finish
- An introduction at the start of the show to remind the audience that it’s a Relaxed Performance and giving anyone who needs to move or be noisy the freedom to do so
- Consideration given to sound and lighting levels, taking into account sensory sensitivities (eg. Any jarring light effects will be lessened or removed while any strobe-light effects will be removed from the show entirely)
- A quiet space outside the auditorium where people can go during the show if they need to
- The ability to come and go from the theatre as needed
If someone’s making noises or moving about, will it distract me from the performance?
Most people edit out background noise all the time, particularly when they know why it’s happening. If a performance is holding your attention, experience tells us you won’t get distracted. People who have been to a Relaxed Performance often say the relaxed atmosphere has enhanced their experience.