Relaxed Performances

Table of Contents

What Is a Relaxed Performance?

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.


Visual Guide

The cover of the TSO's social story, containing information about attending the relaxed performance of The Composer Is Dead

Download the Visual Guide

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.

The Composer Is Dead Fact Sheet

The cover of the TSO's fact sheet for the relaxed performance of The Composer

Download the concert fact sheet

mad.sad.glad Fact Sheet

The cover of the TSO's fact sheet for the relaxed performance of Mad Sad Glad

Download the concert fact sheet

Relaxed Performances in the 2020/21 Season

We are expanding our Relaxed Performances to serve a broader community.

Choose from two family-friendly programs or our first Masterworks program for neurodiverse adults.

Artwork featuring a globe

Musical Passport

Sun, October 4, 2020 at 2:00pm

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, conductor

Fasten your seat belts, because the TSO is taking you on a grand orchestral excursion around the globe! With stops in a variety of countries across multiple continents, you’ll enjoy a symphonic smorgasbord of culturally rich musical offerings, ranging from the reflective Lyric Essay by Canada’s Donald Coakley to the folk-inspired Shepherd’s Hey by Australia’s Percy Grainger to the show-stopping Danzón No. 2 by Mexico’s Arturo Márquez.

RBC Resident Conductor Simon Rivard conducts the TSO.

Mozart's Jupiter Symphony

Sat, November 21, 2020 at 11:00am

Simon Rivard, conductor
Avi Avital, mandolin

Martines: Overture (“Sinfonia”)
Vivaldi: Concerto No. 6 from L’estro armonico
Mozart: Symphony No. 41, K. 551 “Jupiter”

A beginning and an end: For our first-ever Relaxed Performance for adults, we feature the last symphony Mozart ever composed—conducted by TSO RBC Resident Conductor Simon Rivard. Mozart is synonymous with jaw-dropping ingenuity, and his “Jupiter” Symphony is a musical spectacle the likes of which had never been seen before. The charismatic Avi Avital shares a joyfully exhilarating gem by Vivaldi that showcases the mandolin’s crystalline beauty and sensuous charm.

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

Young People's Guide to the TSO

Sun, March 14, 2021 at 11:00am

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, conductor

Allow us to introduce you to...the Orchestra! Acquaint yourself with the instruments and sections of the TSO as Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser shines the spotlight on each of them through performances of iconic works like Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Rimsky-Korsakov’s kinetic Flight of the Bumblebee.

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.”

Read more reactions to our first-ever Relaxed Performance.

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