Relax? Let’s do it!

Dec 5 2016 | By More

Relaxed Xmas perfs mapped

Four Edinburgh theatres are included in a new map of all the relaxed performances of Christmas shows around the world created by Edinburgh academic Dr Ben Fletcher-Watson.

The Google map indicates the scale of the growing trend in relaxed performances – which seek to create non-judgmental environments for people with autism, dementia, Tourette’s and learning disabilities when they visit the theatre.

Black Beauty will have a relaxed performance on 14 December. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Black Beauty will have a relaxed performance on 14 December. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

“For too long, theatres have been off-putting to people who don’t want to be constrained by ‘traditional’ rules of behaviour,” Dr Fletcher-Watson told Æ. “Relaxed performances aim to make everyone comfortable.”

Relaxed performances will be staged of Black Beauty at the Traverse, the King’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk and Scottish Ballet’s production of Hansel and Gretel. At the Brunton in Musselburgh, there will be a relaxed performance of the pantomime Aladdin (for details see listings below).

Fletcher-Watson is currently investigating the topic of relaxed performances in a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. He said that the map is a resource for the community to engage with theatre, possibly for the first time.

He added: “Inevitably, people excluded from theatres are not likely to be on mailing lists, so this is an attempt to highlight opportunities in an accessible way.”

Forget Me Not

The Festival and King’s Theatres Edinburgh have just started a three year project to become a dementia friendly community.  The Forget Me Not project (funded by the Life Changes Trust) will provide performances and activities for people living with dementia and also aim to create a place where people living with dementia are supported and feel included.

Dementia-friendly performances so far this year have included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a silent cinema screening of Safety Last, and a world first dementia-friendly opera performance of Scottish Opera’s Marriage of Figaro.

Details of Dr Ben Fletcher-Watson’s research are available on his website: Relaxed Performance.


Relaxed Performance Listings

Black Beauty
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Wednesday 14 December 2016: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details:
“There will be a relaxed atmosphere to noise and movement in the auditorium and elements of the performance will be altered to create a more comfortable experience (e.g. lighting effects and sound levels reduced), whilst still transporting audiences to the magical world of Black Beauty’s stable yard.”

Hansel and Gretel
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Tuesday 20 December 2016: 1pm.
Tickets and details:
“Specifically designed for people with a range of additional support needs and their families; a relaxed attitude to noise and movement in the auditorium with small changes made to the light, sound and special effects of the show.”

The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Phone booking: 0131 665 2240
Tuesday 27 December 2016: 1pm.
Tickets and details:
“Adjustments will be made to the performance of Aladdin on Tuesday 27 December at 1pm to create a friendly and supportive atmosphere for people with autism and their families.”

Jack and the Beanstalk
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Friday 6 January 2017: 2pm.
Tickets and details:
“To make you feel welcome, relaxed and well-supported, we’ll have lots of trained staff on hand to help with any access needs, anyone can feel free to make noise and move around the auditorium, we’ll keep the lights on, but dimmed to reduce anxiety, and we’ll provide break  out spaces with a live stream of the show so that if people  feel the need to leave the auditorium they won’t miss the action.”



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