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Relaxed Performances

We want as many people as possible to experience our performances, and we’re delighted to offer relaxed performances throughout the year. THSH is a certified autism-friendly venue.

Autism Alliance Autism friendly venue

What is a relaxed performance?

Relaxed performances are open to everyone but are specifically for people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, a learning disability or sensory and communication disorder. An easy way to think of them is the opposite of a quiet carriage on the train.

They’re a great way for family and friends to experience live performances together in an adapted environment. A relaxed performance is designed to be less formal and to embrace different types of audience reaction. Audience members can dance, sing and clap along – whatever makes them comfortable.

Our front-of-house staff have specialist autism awareness training from Autism West Midlands. They are therefore able and willing to respond to any issues or enquiries. All cast members are also briefed, so they make sure they’re delivering the performance in an autism-friendly way.

How are shows adapted?

Many aspects of a production can cause difficulties: busy foyers, unexpected music, lights going up and down and applause. Even the interval can be confusing. We work hard to tackle each of these points, to make sure it isn’t an issue come concert time.

For example, we may make changes to light and sound levels, trying our best to make sure that no performance causes a sensory overload.

We add wheelchair spaces to the Stalls, a chill-out zone and quiet zone away from the auditorium. We also keep some of the doors open in case you need to come and go during the performance.

Download

Relaxed performance guide
833.47 KB PDF

We relished the opportunity that [THSH] gave us to go out as a family and not worry about what people around us thought. We listened to a world-class orchestra in a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, and we are very grateful.

Emma Reynolds

Gerard has autism and other learning disabilities. He felt reassured because we showed him the chill-out area before we went into the main hall. The fact that he was allowed to get up and wander about also helped, because that meant that his anxiety levels weren’t heightened. He loved hearing Star Wars, and Little Jim the puppet made him giggle!


Have questions? Contact us

If you have any questions about your visit or have suggestions for how we can make our venues and shows more accessible, please contact our Customer Service Team on 0121 345 0493.