Britain’s Oxford Playhouse recently put on the children’s musical ‘Spot’s Birthday Party’ with a difference. It was a ‘relaxed performance’ for autistic children, where they were allowed to come and go, and even make as much noise as they liked (some autistic children have involuntary verbal tics). What a breath of fresh air. I’m sure more can be done to bring the Arts to autistic audiences. Perhaps a special auditorium, with soundproof wireless headphones for every audience member, so everyone can enjoy the performance and still make noise?
Relaxed performances are aimed at anyone who would benefit from a laid back environment including people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, sensory or communication disorders, a learning disability or very young children who might be afraid of the dark. The atmosphere in the auditorium will be relaxed with the house lights on a slow fade system. Audience members will be free to come and go as they please throughout the show and make noise if they want to. There will also be a space where you can go and relax outside of the main auditorium in both our Foyer and Circle Bars. In advance of the performance there will be a visual story available on request from the Ticket Office, to help families and young people familiarise themselves with the theatre and performance before attending. [From the Oxford Playhouse website]