RSC to introduce ‘chilled performances’ allowing audience noise

The Royal Sheakespeare Company's production of poem Venus and Adonis. Photo: Robert Day The Royal Sheakespeare Company's production of poem Venus and Adonis. Photo: Robert Day
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The Royal Shakespeare Company is launching a new type of accessible performance, aimed at creating a more casual and informal atmosphere without altering the production.

It will stage its first ‘chilled performance’, of Shakespeare poem Venus and Adonis, on August 1 in the Swan Theatre.

The performance will be characterised by a more casual approach to noise and movement in the auditorium. However, the performance itself will be unchanged.

Chilled performances are aimed at people who feel more at ease knowing they are able to leave the auditorium at any time. These include people with dementia and people with babes in arms.

They are similar to relaxed performances, which the RSC already runs. However, unlike relaxed performances they do not make any changes to the production, such as reducing sound volume, turning up the lights or providing break-out areas.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, who is directing Venus and Adonis, said: “We believe that theatre is for everyone and as a company are committed to engaging as many people as possible with our work. A chilled performance allows people the opportunity to go to a show they may not have previously had the opportunity to see, so we are delighted to be able to provide this new offer.”

The RSC is also introducing tactile costume designs as part of its Touch Tours for visually impaired people.

Tactile costume designs are 3D figures that use fabric and materials from a production to bring to life the costumes of the characters.

They will be piloted during a Touch Tour of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, running in the Swan Theatre, on August 26.