Stress-free at the theatre

Relax, Dunedin: Everything's going to be all right. The Fortune and Regent theatres are to host their first ``relaxed performances''.

Director Jordan Dickson said the 13 performances of the play Little Red Riding Hood from today at the Fortune Theatre include a ``relaxed performance'' at 2pm on Monday.

The play would be the first relaxed performance in Dunedin, he said.

A relaxed performance was a show designed for those who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with an autism spectrum condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning difficulty, but anyone could attend the play, he said.

The environment included a relaxed attitude to noise and movement during the performance, and small changes would be made to the lighting and sound effects.

The performance would have no ``startling'' noises and the auditorium lights would remain on during the play.

The auditorium's capacity was limited to under half its normal capacity so patrons could move around more easily.

The auditorium doors would remain open during the show so anyone could leave at any time.

A ``chill-out space'' would be available in the foyer, where activities such as colouring books would be available.

The play was filmed and screened on a monitor in the foyer so those ``chilling out'' could continue to follow the story, he said.

Before the performance, a ``social script'' would be available for patrons, detailing the experience, such as what the box office and auditorium look like, what the actors look like in costume and in everyday clothing.

The script allowed patrons to familiarise themselves with the production in a bid to reduce the anxiety of entering a new venue.

The script explained actor Nick Tipa was not a real wolf.

``The wolf is really quite nice - he can't say his `Rs' properly and he's got a bit of a lisp,'' Mr Dickson said.

Actor Cheryl Amos, who plays grandma, said the relaxed performances was a great way for parents and caregivers to relax and enjoy the show free from worry.

Regent Theatre marketing manager Hannah Molloy said the promoters of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show offered to make one of its five shows over two days in July a relaxed performance.

``We've gone yup, love to,'' Ms Molloy said.

The 3pm show on July 29 was the relaxed performance and similar in its differences to the Fortune production.

She hoped it would be the first of many relaxed performances at the Regent as it allowed everyone to enjoy a theatrical experience.



Good. Yup is the way to go.

Only, please never stage the scarey for everyone 'Marat Sade'. This is heavy duty audience participation. At Downstage, actors flew offstage into the audience.