autism friendly performances/theatre how can we make some?

Convener(s):  Jo Hammett

Participants:  bods from Oily Cart, Paul Whitlock, Theron, bods from the RSC, independent bods from the education and participation sector, danny braverman oher bods.


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:


I started off by explaining about a project I’d worked on, and the outcomes we had learnt from that: preparing the venue before the audience arrive, preparing the staff through training, preparing materials for the audience to have before they arrive to help access the show for example familiarization sessions, visual stories, relationship building with audience before they arrive.

Danny talked about his work at Orpheus. 

We talked about the difference between autism friendly performances and performances made for audiences with an ASD from the start.  Eg autism friendly was more about opening up / making accessible work that was already made and appropriate to this audience to engage further with this audience.

We talked about the benefits of creating non-narrative performance / sensory based work.

We talked about making work with as opposed to making work for ….

We talked about not just not making this kind of work without the right knowledge or resources.


Points: to make this work it must be: 

  • the work must be right, not all performance is right to be autism friendly
  • we must exchange skills through great mentoring eg oily cart
  • we must have the right support and personnel in place with excellent skills eg not sending people in with not enough support.
  • we must offer both kinds of work, work that is specifically made and work that is made accessible afterwards
  • we must make organizations aware of the simple accessible tools they can do eg, adapting lighting and sound, offering autism awareness training to staff, crating visual stories about the show
  • we must do it to not tick boxes but to do it because it is right for the work and the audience


names to look up: Temple Granding, Orpheus Centre, Flying Asparagus, Canterbury theatre center for recognition thingie… lively ASD community on twitter