Accessibility at Soulpepper with Katherine Beaulieu, Patron Services Assistant Manager
Katherine Beaulieu Soulpepper and the Young Centre’s Patron Services Assistant Manager recently attended the Tessitura Learning and Community Conference in Chicago as a featured presenter discussing about Accessible and Inclusive Programming with representatives from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winniepg, and Roundabout Theatre Company in New Yok. At the international conference with over 2000 attendees from venues across the world like the Globe Theatre in London and The Australian Ballet at the Sydney Opera House.
Katherine presented on what Soulpepper and the Young Centre for the Performing Arts have been doing in just this last year improve our programming for audiences with various access needs, and how to welcome these new audiences into our space. Our main initiatives have been ASL interpreted performances and relaxed performances.
Many people know how most ASL interpreted performances run, but Katherine was surprised to learn that ‘Relaxed Performance’ isn’t as common of a term as she thought – some people know them as sensory friendly, but half the room wasn’t familiar with the concept at all.
Katherine shared the considerations Soulpepper and the Young Centre make to welcome patrons to a relaxed performance, both into the building (before the show) and during the performance.
- Change the light flicker and chimes in the Atrium to indicate performances are starting soon.
- Allow for movement and noise in the theatre while the performance is happening.
- Offer in and out access to the theatre throughout the performance.
- Set house lights to 30% and keep sound below 90 decibels.
- Offer a Quiet Room room, a sensory friendly space with a live feed to the performance on a TV.
- Provide fact sheets to explain and prepare for the production.
Soulpepper is pleased to continue offering Relaxed Performances. There will be relaxed performances for Betrayal on September 15 at 2:00PM and for Peter Pan on December 19 at 11:00AM and December 22 at 1:00PM.
Stay tuned for exciting news about relaxed performances in Soulpepper’s upcoming season announcement!