Orchestras Live is taking a cue from the theatre sector and piloting ‘relaxed’ concerts for children with disabilities and their families, including those on the autistic spectrum or with sensory and communication difficulties. A national Relaxed Performance Pilot Project for theatres in 2012/13 has led to relaxed theatrical performances becoming more widely available, but relaxed orchestral concerts are still relatively rare.
Orchestras Live is working with Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, Sinfonia Viva, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art and Rowan Gate Primary School, a school for pupils with a range of complex learning needs, to devise a new style of concert. Audience members will be able to sit where they like – on bean bags, at tables or on the floor. There will also be a “chill out room” and the audience will be free to talk, move about, sing and dance.
Jan Ford, Orchestras Live’s Partnership Manager, said: “Our research and consultation with a range of support groups, such as Autism Anglia, and parents of children with disabilities has been humbling. There are so many barriers to getting to a concert in the first place and then being told to shush or leave because your child makes a noise during the concert, means families just won’t go.”
The concerts will be piloted in Kettering and Colchester this summer and autumn.
Read more on the Arts Professional website