So you might be thinking what is a relaxed performance? Is it where the cast leave the glitz and glamour behind and wear pj’s and the audience can come and go as they please and eat food in the auditorium?
…No would be the answer to that.
Relaxed performances are designed to allow those members of the audience who would most benefit from having a more relaxed and accessible environment. Relaxed performances are open to people with autism spectrum condition, sensory and communication disorder and learning disabilities.
This means that for that particular performance there is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and when possible small changes to the light and sound of the show will be made to accommodate this, overall trying to reduce some of the sensory aspects of a production.
Shows like ‘The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time’ give just a small insight to what life with a disability is like and it was also the first West End show to give a relaxed perform to an older audience.
During relaxed shows families will be warned when to expect loud noises or of bright light changes and for anyone who is overwhelmed during the performance there is, when possible, a ‘chill out ‘ zone located somewhere in the building which also may have televisions and audio relay to the show. There you can relax more and still not miss out on the production.
Theatre and the arts has been shown to help with interaction and communication within people with disabilities and learning difficulties and this is a great way to expand on this and make sure that theatre is accessible to all.
More and more theatres and shows are now starting to implement relaxed performances and with live theatre now being shown in cinemas and with the occasional live musical on TV, the mediums in which we watch and enjoy theatre are starting to expand and thus making it much more accessible.
You can find out some more information on Relaxed Performances here:
Stage Newspaper. An great article from The Stage about relaxed theatre.
There are also certain charities such as Mouse Trap that also run relaxed and disabled friendly theatre trips –
Most show websites and pantomimes will list when their next relaxed and altered show will be.
And make sure to check out if your local cinema show live theatre and shows.