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YESPA Relaxed Performance


A relaxed performance is for anyone needing a more chilled out, more flexible way of enjoying a theatrical performance. Each summer YESPA endeavours to perform at least one relaxed performance matinee of its summer production if the subject matter and length of the show is felt to be appropriate .

What is a relaxed performance?


A relaxed performance is an adapted performance designed for people who will benefit from a more relaxed environment including people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory or communication disorders, or a learning disability.


What is different about the relaxed performance compared to a standard performance?

  1. The adaptations made for the relaxed performance have been made in consultation with The National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading Autism charity.

  2. The relaxed performance may be abridged, without compromising on the story, to better suit the needs of the audience.

  3. Auditorium lights will be raised to half-light so that the audience is not in complete darkness.

  4. Loud or sharp noises will be subdued.

  5. Audience members will be free to come in and out of the auditorium throughout the performance whenever they feel the need to.

  6. There will be a ‘chill out’ area with soft furnishings and water outside the auditorium if the performance becomes too overwhelming.


Who is invited to a relaxed performance?

Everyone! It is ideal for people with Autism or a learning disability, but anyone is welcome to come, especially whole families.


Does it matter if my group are noisy?

Not at all! You may talk freely during the performance, and move about. Shrieks of joy and excitement are expected and welcome here.


Can we bring a toy or gadget to play with during the performance?

Yes, certainly. Feel free to bring any toy you like, but remember headphones if it’s a noisy one. Headphones or ear defenders can be useful if the noise of the show feels too loud.


Can we eat and drink in the auditorium?

Yes, you can, but ideally, drinks should be in a non-spill cup and no glass bottles, please.


How can I help my party prepare for this theatre trip?

YESPA can provide an information pack to help you familiarize yourself and your party with how to get to the venue and the venue itself. There will be a visual storyboard to help explain the story you are about to watch. The cast will introduce the main characters of the show before the show starts and will remind everyone that it is all pretend and none of what they see is real. The packs will soon be available from the Harlequin Box Office or you may send an email to Ali Bond ( requesting a copy, saying how you would like it delivered to you (in the post or by email).


Will your front of house staff be familiar with an audience like ours?

Yes! The National Autistic Society has provided specialist training for our front of house staff at The Harlequin Theatre, so they are fully equipped to help all audience members on the day. YESPA will also provide more stewards to help on the day, so there will be plenty of people around to ask for assistance. We are all there to ensure everyone has a fantastic afternoon out at the theatre!

If there are any other resources that you feel may assist you with your visit to the Harlequin Theatre please feel free to call the Harlequin Theatre Box office on 01737 276500 or contact (YESPA Production Secretary) to request an information pack.

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