WHAT IS A RELAXED PERFORMANCE?
Relaxed performances were initially designed to make theatre spaces more comfortable and welcoming to audience members with autism spectrum disorders, sensory and communication disorders or learning disabilities. During a performance there may be loud noises, bright lights, and other things which can be stressful for some people. In a Relaxed Performance the enviroment is carefully adjusted to be friendly and informal to make it accessible for anyone. Other audience members who benefit from Relaxed Performances include parents with toddlers, people with Tourette’s syndrome, people who experience anxiety or people who are not comfortable with the conventions of a traditional theatre setting.
LIGHTING AND SOUND
In a relaxed performance, the music, sound and lighting effects are adjusted (or removed) to reduce anxiety and remove the element of surprise. The lighting in the auditorium is kept low so the audience is never in the dark. Other theatre effects (eg. Strobe lighting, smoke machines, sound) may be removed or kept low.
In a Relaxed Performance, there is a relaxed attitude by the staff, performers and audience to noise and movement by patrons with sensory requirements or comfort behaviours, including stimming, pacing, rocking, humming, and making other noise.
The seating will be accessible for all physical abilities including wheelchair access and the theatre doors will remain unlocked, or open at all times so people can come and go. If an audience member needs to leave, a staff member will usher them to a calming area in the lobby area.
For an example of a full relaxed performance guide, click here
Relaxed Performance Checklist (Opens New Window)
The Foundation: Principles of a Relaxed Performance (Opens New Window)