Enhancing Relaxed Performance: Evaluating an Autism Arts Festival

May, Shaun and Fletcher-Watson, Ben (2018) Enhancing Relaxed Performance: Evaluating an Autism Arts Festival. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, . ISSN 1356-9783. (Full text available)

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https://doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2018.1468243

Abstract

‘Relaxed performances’ allow spectators to enjoy a non-judgmental environment in the theatre, where they can talk or move around, along with other adjustments to make them more accessible to a range of audiences including those on the autistic spectrum. Typical accommodations include reduced intensity of lighting and sound, provision of visual stories to familiarise spectators with the venue and production, and trained staff available to assist visitors. This paper will evaluate the Autism Arts Festival, an attempt to develop the idea of a relaxed performance further to create an entirely autism-friendly festival in Canterbury, UK. We developed a suite of features to make the festival more accessible, and whilst audience response indicates that no single one was used by all audience members, the suite as a whole was nevertheless effective at increasing the accessibility of the festival. Moreover, discussions with the performers indicate that the festival, as an ‘autistic space’, was conducive of both a sense of community solidarity and engagement with the politics of neurodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Projects: [UNSPECIFIED] Autism Arts Festival
Uncontrolled keywords: autism, accessibility, neurodiversity, relaxed performance, autistic space
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1655 Drama
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Drama and Theatre
Depositing User: Shaun May
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 17:10 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2018 13:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/64666 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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