The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Relaxed Performances are intended to be sensitive to and welcoming of neurodiverse audiences, including patrons on the autism spectrum, those with sensory and communication disorders, people with learning disabilities, or those who simply want a more relaxed concert experience.
These performances differ from other TSO concerts in a number of ways:
- If patrons need to move around, express themselves vocally, leave the concert hall, or take a break in the quiet room, they are welcome to.
- Audience members will have advance access to a Visual Guide that details the concert experience, step by step, in order to reduce anxiety about it, and a concert-specific fact sheet with detailed information about the performance itself.
- Three rows of seats at the back of the hall will be kept empty should guests wish to move away from the sound of the Orchestra on stage.
- Patrons will have access to a quiet room furnished with comfortable seating, stress-relieving fidgets, and relaxing activities.
- The TSO will provide other resources, such as sound-dampening headphones, that can be signed out before the concert and returned afterward.
- Specialized training will be provided to musicians, TSO staff, and front-of-house personnel at Roy Thomson Hall by Relaxed Performance Consultant, Rachel Marks.
Relaxed Performances in the 2019/20 season
The Composer Is Dead
Sat, February 22, 2020 at 11:00am
Simon Rivard, TSO RBC Resident Conductor
Kevin Frank, host
Eugene Ye, cello (2018/19 TSYO Concerto Competition winner)
Calling all sneaky sleuths and would-be detectives! Who snuffed out the composer? Was it the shifty string section, or maybe the treacherous trombones? Every instrument in the Orchestra is a suspect! With music by Nathaniel Stookey and text by Lemony Snicket, The Composer Is Dead is a hilarious whodunit for the whole family.
Sun, May 24, 2020 at 2:00pm
Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, conductor
Experience all the feels as Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts the Orchestra in an all-ages program designed to showcase how a range of emotions can be expressed—and experienced—through music. Hear works by Tchaikovsky, John Williams, and other emotive composers!
Fact Sheets specific to each Relaxed Performance will be added to TSO.CA in fall 2019.
Did you know that the TSO also has dedicated Visual Guides for general performances and School Concerts? Find out more about these resources on our accessibility page.
Feedback on our previous Relaxed Performance
- “As an advocate for all parents who have a child with challenges, having the opportunity to attend a high-calibre performance without the stress and worry about our child’s behaviour and judgment by others is very, very important.”
- “You probably did that for the kids, but most of us parents don’t have a chance to go to the theatre, opera, ballet, and concerts because it’s very hard to find qualified help for our children, so today was a gift for me as well. And to share that with my daughter who was in awe for the whole time, barely breathing, was a gift that I will never forget.”
- “This show has deepened our connection to the TSO. Without a doubt, we will be life-long TSO patrons. Please host events like this again. What the TSO created was magical. The world needs more inclusive, compassion, and loving spaces. Thank you for creating this one.”
- "Words can truly not express how much this show meant to our family. I cried tears of joy, gratitude, and relief as I looked around the venue and saw people free to be themselves. I felt so grateful to be in an inclusive, loving space where my son could be himself and no one would judge our family for not always being able to follow all the social norms/expectations.”
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