Patron enjoying the sensory room at a relaxed performance

RELAXED PERFORMANCES

Does being in a theatre environment make you or anyone you know feel nervous?

Do flashing lighting effects, smoke on stage or loud sound effects put you off coming to a performance?

Do you know anyone who may benefit from a more relaxed theatre environment?

WHAT IS A RELAXED PERFORMANCE?

A Relaxed Performance is specifically designed and adapted for people who find regular performance settings difficult.

If you or someone you know are on the Autism Spectrum, has additional or complex needs and/or find sitting in a busy, socially restrained environment difficult and distressing, then a relaxed performance may be of benefit to you.

A Relaxed Performance takes away some of the stresses of the theatre experience by keeping the house lights on and operating an open doors policy, allowing free access in and out of the auditorium during the performance. Additionally, sound levels are monitored and kept at a lower level and all special effects, like smoke and pyrotechnics are removed entirely.

A Quiet Room and a Sensory Room are set up within the theatre should anyone need some time away from the theatre environment. The performance is streamed onto a screen in the Sensory Room so those who find the experience in the auditorium too uncomfortable don’t have to miss out on the show. The Quiet Room does not have any visual or audio streams but is open to anyone who needs to take a few minutes out.

Information packs are also sent out prior to the performance with additional details about the show. This may help you or your group familiarise yourself with our theatre and the things you may encounter during your visit.

We stage at least one Relaxed Performance of our annual pantomime. Details of this and other Relaxed Performances can be found in the Accessible Performances section of this website.

If you are interested in coming to a Relaxed Performance or you have any questions about this service, please contact the box office on 01902 42 92 12 and ask to speak with Remy Lloyd (Outreach Manager – Access & Inclusion) or Anthony Wingrove (Head of Customer Services).

Alternatively, if you have any more questions or queries, please email us at remyl@grandtheatre.co.uk

 

WHAT THE RELAXED PERFORMANCE MEANS TO US

Dan and Lois Raven met whilst working at the Grand in 2005 and they have two children Elliot and Anya. Dan is a General Technician in the technical department and has worked on Relaxed Performances since the beginning. When their son Elliot was diagnosed with Autism, Lois became a founding member of EMBRACE AUTISM WV a support group for parents with children on the autism spectrum in Wolverhampton. Here she explains about her lived experience,

“Relaxed Performances provide the opportunity for families like mine to experience the magic of theatre with no judgement. I came to see the panto twice last year, once with Anya and once with Elliot. We are so excited that this Christmas we will be able to come as a family group. It’s hard for Elliot to access the community. As a theatre family we attend as many events as possible but if Elliot becomes overwhelmed and starts to distract others we would leave, even if he was enjoying it. Which is really sad. As parents we feel less stressed at Relaxed Performances. There’s lots of shouting and flapping from the audience around us, but it’s an environment that is made to feel comfortable for us.” Dan added: “The key is the kids being able to do their own thing without the fear of others shushing them and we don’t have to worry about him leaving if he gets overwhelmed. The quiet rooms and sensory rooms are brilliant because we don’t need to physically leave the building, then we have the opportunity to go back into the auditorium if we can. More of these events would benefit us greatly.”

EMBRACE AUTISM WV will be holding a coffee morning in The Grand Theatre’s Encore Lounge on Thursday 12 May from 10am – 12noon.

For more information contact the support group through Facebook at Embrace Autism WV – parent support group run by parents for parents/carers.