Does being in a theatre environment make you or anyone you know feel nervous?
Do flashing light 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 adapted for people who find the standard auditorium environment overwhelming but still want to enjoy the magic of live theatre. We make a range of adaptations to the performance and auditorium such as:
– Removing and reducing special effects such as flashing lights, loud noises, smoke and haze
– Lowering the volume of the show
– Operating an open-door policy, allowing free movement in and out of the auditorium when needed
– Relaxing the usual auditorium rules, so more noise and movement is to be expected to allow people to enjoy the show in their own way
– To make the theatre experience even more enjoyable, we make a number of changes to our Front of House areas, these include:
– A Sensory Room, with a live-stream of the show so you don’t miss out on the fun when you need a break from the auditorium
– Quiet Spaces that have no visual or audio streams
– A changing room including a large changing bed and hoist
– Additional staff to help and make you feel comfortable
Before your visit, you can watch our orientation video by clicking here to familiarise yourself with the theatre. When possible, we will also send an information pack via email which will include character introductions, a visual story and any important lyrics you might want to learn to join in during the show!
Any one is welcome at a Relaxed Performance, but they are specifically adapted to benefit those on the autism spectrum, younger children or those with learning difficulties or additional needs. Relaxed performances ensure that those that find sitting in a busy, socially restrained environment difficult and distressing, can enjoy the theatre experience in an accessible way.
Details of our Relaxed Performances can be found in the Accessible Performances section of this website.
If you have any questions about this service, please contact the Outreach Department firstname.lastname@example.org
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 has worked as a General Technician in the technical department and has worked on Relaxed Performances since they began. 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 hold regular coffee mornings at the Grand Theatre.
For more information contact the support group through Facebook at Embrace Autism WV – parent support group run by parents for parents/carers.