Young at Art is committed to offering a festival accessible to all.

Relaxed performance

Performances designed for children and their families who may be living with additional sensory and communication needs including learning difficulties and autism.

What is a relaxed performance?

It is a performance for people who:

• have additional sensory and communication needs including learning difficulties and autism

• might require a high level of preparation for their visit

• may make noise and need to move around and/or talk 

• can be described as “the opposite of the quiet carriage on a train”

• may need to leave the performance for a break and return

What’s different about it from a standard performance?

• Staff have awareness of the special challenges a child with additional sensory and communication needs faces in a new environment. 

• No bright flashing lights or sudden loud noises.

• Theatre lights will be lowered but not go to complete darkness.

• Audience are free to leave the theatre and return, to make noise and walk around.

• A chill out area is available for audience members who may need a time out. 

• Earplugs are available, just ask a member of staff. 

• Fidget toys (stress ball) are available, ask a member of staff.

• A printed visual story of the performance is available from staff members or to download from the Young at Art website or from the venue website in advance of the performance.

• All front of house and in theatre pre-show announcements will be made in person by a member of staff (no bodiless voices). 

What is autism?

• Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Each child with autism is affected differently. Many children with autism experience high sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. Others experience low sensitivity. Children with autism may have difficulty in social situations and struggle to control their emotions. For children with autism the world can seem a bewildering, and somewhat frightening place at times. It is thought over 700,000 people in the UK are affected by autism. For more information, please visit AutismNI.