Relaxed Performances

A relaxed performance is aimed at opening up live performance and theatre experiences for people with autism and other learning disabilities. Since first established in 1987, Circus Starr has provided a relaxed, inclusive environment to our disabled audiences, working ever more closely with autistic children in recent years.

Circus offers a naturally relaxed performance environment where children are actively encouraged to interact with the acts, cheer, applaud, move about and are welcome to leave the Big Top for chill-out time if they need to.

We firmly believe that if young people have a positive experience of live performance at a circus (where children instinctively feel comfortable and welcome), this will provide a springboard into their exploring other arts and cultural opportunities.  

We're loud, vibrant and full of suprises, so what does make Circus Starr Autism Friendly?

Read the research findings HERE on the Nesta Website 

Circus Starr is delighted to be working in partnership with the Relaxed Performance Project, a new, national initiative designed by The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts, The Society of London Theatre and the Theatrical Management Association. This new initiative is aimed to encourage children with an autism spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory / communication disorder and their families to engage with live performance and theatre. 

"Families like ours are usually swimming against the tide.  Today, we are the Tide."

Many familes living with autism, learning disabilites sensory and communication needs may be wary of attending live performances for fear of disrupting the performance and / or other audience members.  Relaxed performances are a positive way to offer families with chance to experience theatre together. In a Relaxed Performance, children and young people benefit from a relaxed environment where both the performance and theatre are adjusted to help reduce anxiety or stress.  Explains Jeremy Newton, The Princes Foundation for Children & the Arts,

"We believe that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by the arts, but unfortunately many children with autism have faced an unfair barrier to access. This project is about making the theatre welcoming and inclusive for these children and young adults." 

Participating theatres include: 

  • West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
  • Lyceum Theatre, London
  • National Theatre, London
  • Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Shakespeare's Globe, London
  • Unicorn Theatre, London
  • Oxford Playhouse, Oxford
  • Apollo Theatre, London
  • Theatre by the Lake; Keswick
  • Grimsby Auditorium 




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Company’s Registered Office Address: Circus Starr, Starr in the Community CIC - Dane Mill, Broadhurst Lane, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1LA
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