Relaxed Performance audience ©

photo courtesy of ONEOFUS

What is a Relaxed Performance (RP)?

RP is a specially designated performance intended to attract and accommodate a range of people who might not otherwise be able to comply with traditional theatre etiquette. There is a relaxed attitude to noise, movement, and small changes to the sound levels and some lighting effects in the show. You might say, 'the opposite of the quiet carriage on the train'. 

It includes people:

  • On the Autism spectrum
  • Those who make involuntary noises or movements
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mixed abilities or ages
  • Those who prefer a less formal environment
  • With age-related impairments

Want to know more? Watch  this snappy little video by British artist, Jess Thom a.k.a. Tourette’s Hero as she explains RP.


Peer to Peer Intensive Training

In October 2015, British Council hosted a very successful Peer to Peer Intensive on Relaxed Performance at BAM featuring leading UK expert, Kirsty Hoyle of Include Arts, and representatives from UK theatres that have successfully adopted the relaxed performance model including Head of Access at the National Theatre, Senior Marketing & Access Officer of Shakespeare’s Globe, and Director of Colchester Arts Center. 

Attending this two-day training session were representatives from the departments of Marketing, Education, Front of House and Operations from BAM, Lincoln Center, and the Public Theatre- arguably the most influential theatre institutions (non-profit) in NYC. Leaders from Theatre Development Fund (TDF), including the head of their Autism Theatre Initiative, and Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the two largest national service and advocacy organizations for theatres in the US were also present. 

Bespoke Training Sessions

Launch Theatre Communications Group, the US' leading non-profit theater industry service organization, and publisher of American Theatre magazine, invited Include Arts and British Council to host a skill building workshop on Relaxed Performances at their annual conference, which attracts thousands of theatre makers from across the country in June 2015. We provided a sample of Relaxed Performance and hope to inspire more theatres to adopt this policy with this platform. 

There was also an article in the April issue of American Theatre featuring Jess Thom, a.k.a. Touretteshero, and she embarks on a national tour of her theatrical production, Backstage in Biscuit Land, and champions relaxed performance around the country. The article can be found in the PDF below.

Host a Training Session

For theatres interested in hosting their own training on relaxed performance, please see our Relaxed Performances Menu below. Theatres can either host a training for their staff, or choose to serve as a regional hub to other theatres and invite fellow presenters to join the training. For any additional inquiries or to book a training, please contact us.

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