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Young people with a dinosaur as par of a relaxed session at Eden Project

Relaxed sessions

As more venues recognise the diversity of their visitors, we are seeing growing recognition of the demand for relaxed performances or sessions.

The premise of an autism friendly or relaxed session is to enable children with additional needs such as sensory processing disorders to experience a show, exhibition or event in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. Lighting levels are raised, loud noises are reduced, and people are free to move around the space and make as much noise as they wish.

Originally developed within the theatre arena, and sometimes referred to as autism friendly, these sessions are now gaining popularity in a range of venues from supermarkets to gardens, allowing everyone to enjoy a relaxed family day out. The National Theatre describes the atmosphere of a relaxed performance as “the opposite of the quiet carriage on the train".

We know that for many small organisations or venues this can be quite a daunting prospect. There are access regulations to consider, staff training, inclusive signage and of course reaching your target audience.

How do I create an autism friendly or relaxed session for my venue?

We offer a consultancy package to help you get your first relaxed or autism friendly session off to a flying start and leave you with the tools and confidence to go on to deliver many more sessions as they are sure to grow in popularity.

Our consultancy package includes advice on:

  • design of space such as path widths, ramps, entrances and exits
  • lighting, sound and pace of performance or event
  • ways of creating a more multi-sensory experience
  • reaching your target audiences and creating promotional materials
  • creation of a bespoke pre-visit document to issue in advance of an event so families can familiarise themselves with the space and content
  • principles of accessible, inclusive signage
  • staff training
  • establishing your own blueprint and giving you the tools for running future events

Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

Examples of our work

Don't just take our word for it, we have worked with Eden Project to help them respond to an increasing demand for relaxed performances as part of their seasonal events. The Father Christmas experience proved so successful that we were asked to scale up the approach for their major summer event 'Dinosaur Uprising'. Relaxed sessions have now become a regular feature in Eden Project's event programme.

Widgits on a sign sharing reindeer facts
Signage and interpretation includes symbol language
Children enjoying a relaxed session at the Eden Project in Cornwall
BSL signer at a Christmas performance

It was really lovely and so well thought through. Santa and all his Elves did fantastic signing and made such a fuss of my son who is in a wheelchair and can't talk. It was really special.



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