Relaxed Performances

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Relaxed Performances

A relaxed performance is a show, concert or screening of a film etc. where adaptions are made to facilitate the needs of children and adults with additional needs. In particular those with ADHD, autism (ASD), and sensory needs as well as other developmental and physical conditions that make attending ordinary performances difficult.

The provision of a relaxed performance makes it possible for these children and their families to attend knowing that, should they have any problem, it can be sorted without creating an embarrassing scene or incident. And when publicised and explained properly, the audience attending a relaxed performance will be more empathetic towards the needs and difficulties of others. This is incredibly empowering for parents who often avoid taking their children to public events because of the negative reactions of others.

The adaptions that can be made will of course depend on whether it is a live or recorded perfomance, the genre of the production and the physical design and constraints of the performance space. They may include any of the following:

keeping auditorium lights on or partially dimmed

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reducing the volume of music and sound effects

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filtering out base sounds that cause vibrations that may be felt

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allowing audience movement and talking

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providing additional ushers to assist before and during performances

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creating opportunities for audience members to meet performers in costume but out of role prior to the performance

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announcement at start of performance explaining the nature of the relaxed performance, any assistance available and providing warning of any special effects
omission or reduction of special effects involving flashing lights or dry ice

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actors on stage under perform extreme character roles to avoid over exciting or upsetting vulnerable audience members

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providing an interval during a film screening

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