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Relaxed Performances


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Relaxed Performances at Gateway Theatre

Do you love performing arts but you don't go often for any of these reasons?
  • You don't like to be in the dark.
  • You want to know what is going to happen.
  • You can't sit still and be quiet
  • You don't like to sit still or be quiet
  • You are worried the lights will give you a seizure
  • You are sensitive to bright lights or lots of colours
  • You don't like loud or sudden sounds.
  • Some lights or sounds give you a headache.
  • You feel like you can’t leave the theatre when you want to.
  • You don't like to go to new places.
  • You don't feel welcome.
Relaxed performances might be perfect for you! We want to organize Relaxed Performances at Gateway Theatre, but first we want to talk to you to know what works best for you!

I'm interested

What is a Relaxed Performance?
Relaxed Performances “relax” some traditional elements of theatre to provide a more comfortable audience experience. Some things you might experience during a Relaxed Performance that are different from more traditional theatre could include:
  • Moving your body or making sounds without worrying that someone will get mad at you.
  • Entering and leaving the theatre whenever you need or want to.
  • Learning what will happen in a show before you see it performed.
  • Knowing that high or low intensity lighting or sound cues will be made less intense.
For more information about what you might expect from a Relaxed Performance, you can watch a video about Relaxed Performances by People’s Light Theatre: Please note that this video focuses on Relaxed Performances for children, but Relaxed Performances are intended to make theatre accessible for anyone.
Who is Gateway Theatre?
Gateway Theatre is a theatre company based in Richmond, BC. We operate a City of Richmond-owned theatre facility, which includes our 540-seat MainStage theatre, and our 84-seat Studio B black box theatre.
We’d like to hear from people who might enjoy Relaxed Performances at our theatre (including people with disabilities and neurodivergent folks). We’d like to add Relaxed Performance programming to productions in our MainStage and Studio B theatres.
Why are we doing this?
We want to do Relaxed Performances that work for our local community. We want to provide a supportive environment and a good experience for audiences who would prefer attending Relaxed Performances. We want to create more accessible theatre spaces so that more people can participate in theatre!
For all of those reasons, we want to hear what you have to say about how existing Relaxed Performances might work for you – or how they might not! We would like to hear what you think would make coming to our theatre more accessible. Based on your feedback, we will plan a training session for the staff at Gateway Theatre so they can plan Relaxed Performances.
How will this work?
We’ll host casual online meetings using Zoom with facilitator Anika Vervecken. In these meetings, Anika will explain different Relaxed Performance practices and invite you to share how these materials relate to your lived experience. Johnny MacRae, a member of Gateway’s staff, will also attend the sessions.
We would like to invite between 6 and 10 people to participate in each meeting as consultants. If you participate as a consultant, you don’t need to do any preparation beforehand, and you will be paid an honorarium of $100 for each meeting.
We also welcome you to express your interest to consult in future for Gateway Theatre, including as part of in-person staff training in early October.
Meeting Schedule:
#1: Front of House – Wednesday, September 21st – 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
During this meeting we’ll talk about how we invite and welcome you to the theatre for a Relaxed Performance. We’ll invite your feedback on ways we can improve your experience in the lobby, buying tickets, or learning about when we offer Relaxed Performances.
#2: Show Production – Friday, September 21st – 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
During this meeting, we’ll discuss the technical parts of a theatre performance, such as lighting and sound. We’ll invite your feedback on what adaptations are useful in a Relaxed Performance, such as how technical parts of a performance can be adjusted to make it more accessible.
#3: Visual Stories – Friday, September 23rd – 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
A visual story is a document that uses text and photos to give audience members an idea of what to expect at a venue and a show. During this meeting, we’ll look at an example of a visual story. We’ll invite your feedback on what details about the show you think are useful to include in a visual story.
If you are interested in participating as a consultant, you can fill out the online form here.
If you want to know more, or you need assistance filling out the form, you can email Johnny from Gateway at or you can call him at 604-247-4984.