Town Hall Birmingham is hosting world’s first, publicly available relaxed performance for people with autism

Town Hall Birmingham is hosting what we believe to be the UK’s first, if not world’s first, publicly available relaxed performance for people with autism this Sunday 22 March.
This weekend THSH is staging The Relaxed Performance featuring James Rowney (local autistic ventriloquist from Sutton) and Orchestra of the Swan, which we think is potentially the first of its kind in a concert environment. We have grand designs for this and we hope it will be rolled out across the globe.
Our performance is entirely different from the average relaxed performance. It has been designed by people with autism, stars people with autism and is for people with autism.

So while most relaxed concerts are one in a run of shows, with one adapted for the audience. Ours is utterly unique and we have worked with Autism West Midlands family network and James to find out exactly what the audience wanted from a performance, and then we made it happen with Orchestra of the Swan.

It breaks down the barriers many people with autism feel and their families feel are stopping them from accessing live musical performances. One of those barriers is physical and emotional reaction to music. The classic silent concert environment doesn’t embrace different types of audience reaction. This does. Meaning our guests can clap, dance and sing along, doing what is absolutely right for them in an atmosphere that is free from judgement. There is even a chill out zone.
The show features autistic ventriloquist James, and his friend Little Jim, as they attend their first ever concert, Orchestra of the Swan. They are then taken through a magical musical journey in which we’ve thrown the rule book out of the window. They can laugh, clap and cheer or dance, whatever they want.
I’ve attached our press release for more info in case you’d like to let people know about it.

Sunday’s performance will not only see James as an inspiration to others with autism, but will also demonstrate the importance of making music accessible to people with disabilities.

You can watch a video we’ve made especially for it, here:

For more information, visit:

Leslie Burby

Leslie Burby

Leslie Burby is the former Editor-in-Chief of Autism Parenting Magazine and a public speaker on autism related issues. She is the author of three autism related books: Emotional Mastery for Adult's with Autism (2013); Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers, Infants and Babies (2014); and the children's book Grace Figures Out School (2014).

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