The TSO’s first Relaxed Performance

Hundreds of families enjoy special show for neurodiverse audiences

On April 27, the Orchestra welcomed patrons to our first Relaxed Performance, designed specifically for people living with autism spectrum disorders, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities, or anyone who wanted a more casual concert experience.


Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser shows the audience some Bhangra dance moves.

A young boy watches the relaxed performance.

Reactions from parents

  • "As an advocate for all parents who have a child with challenges, having the opportunity to attend a high caliber performance without the stress and worry about our child's behaviour and judgement 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 and I don’t take it for granted the efforts that go in organizing an event of this magnitude. I am so grateful and can’t wait for the next one. Hopefully you will have multiple days, so we can attend all of them!"
  • "I was so happy to be there with our son and I cried for the first two songs. I would highly highly recommend the concert to people with young children or children with disabilities."
  • "It might be hard to envision for those not exposed to special needs, but just knowing that we would not be judged/shamed for behavioural issues which we can't control, and we will meet others just like us: who rarely can be in public, and would not have ever had the opportunity to have experienced a concert if not for these special arrangements. This was a life changing experience, very enjoyable for the whole family, no tension for needing to hide or stop the unusual behaviour. Thank you SO MUCH for providing this opportunity. Even if it was only once in a lifetime. It was worth it."
  • "IT. WAS. PHENOMENAL. This makes me very hopeful for the future of neurodiverse population. I am glad to see the 'change'. I have no words to show the gratitude I have."
  • "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. The conductor was excellent and did a fantastic job introducing the event and helping attendees understand/prepare for various aspects of the show. The music and dance was excellent and diverse. The event was inclusive in so many ways."

On social media


TSO Assistant Concertmaster Etsuko Kimura chats with audience members.

Toronto Mayor John Tory talks to audience members.

In the press

Thank you to our sponsors

The TSO is grateful to Ms. Doris Chan, Equitable Life of Canada, Audrey S. Hellyer Foundation, Mr. Brian Sambourne, and Mrs. Ruth Watts-Gransden for their support of the Relaxed Performance.

Resources

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