Many families of children with autism often find it difficult to attend theatre performances due to the noise, lights and various external stimuli that can be overwhelming for the youngsters. Additionally, after a complaint was made regarding the ill treatment of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a West End performance in 2011, theatre organizers began to see the importance of providing an environment where all theatregoers would be able to enjoy shows comfortably.
They subsequently opted to create was has been coined “relaxed performances” which feature dimmed lighting, lowered audio levels and little or no pyrotechnic special effects. Relaxed performances are already relatively popular in Scotland as well with the Scottish National Party recently expressing its support for the shows.
Although they aren’t as popular in London yet, they undoubtedly have the potential to be in the near future. Mark Macdonald MSP asserts that the trend will ultimately be an important step towards inclusion regarding those with disabilities and other special needs asserting:
“All it takes are small but important adjustments to make the joy of theatre as inclusive as possible.”
Source: Jamie Merrill in The Independent: Pantomime leads the pack in quest to entertain autistic theatre-goersff