The Royal Shakespeare Company is gearing up to bring their second relaxed performance to life, with the company preparing to bring the As You Like It to the stage.

The relaxed version is the RSC’s second full-length play to be presented in the relaxed format, and the matinee will be performed on Thursday 16 May. It opens to the RST auditorium following the success of the relaxed performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2016.

Relaxed performances remove any stress cause by the stringent rules traditionally found in the theatre arena, and provide a more casual environment, making special considerations around elements such as staging to ensure it  is comfortable for people living with autism, additional needs, or for other neuro-divergent visitors.

Measures taken include raised lighting to make seating more friendly and welcoming and loud sounds are toned down to a more comfortable volume.   They also feature more relaxed rules on when visitors can enter and exit the theatre, and have ‘chill-out’ areas where people can retreat to if they need quiet time during the production.

Visitors to the theatre will also be provided with a detailed visual story ahead of time, providing guides to the theatre, production, and who they might see or interact with during their time there.

Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “Relaxed performances are a vital part of our access work. As they ‘relax’ theatre’s usual rules, they are a perfect way of bringing in people who may find the usual theatre experience too stressful – whether in terms of lighting, noise, or not having the ability to move around. Theatre is for everyone, and we are proud of our commitment to make our productions accessible to people from all walks of life. We were among the first to pioneer relaxed performances, with our Christmas production The Mouse and his Child in 2013 being our first, and have held many more since, including one with the touring Matilda The Musical. They are a cornerstone of our growing body of access work, which also includes audio described, integrated BSL interpreted, captioned and chilled performances.”

To book tickets and for more information on the RSC’s access work visit www.rsc.org.uk/your-visit/access/assisted-performances/forthcoming-performances or contact Box Office on 01789 311111.

Image: Adam Cuerden

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