Relaxed Performances

What are relaxed performances are who are they for?

Relaxed performances are an adaptive form of theatre designed to welcome people who don’t feel comfortable in a traditional theatre environment. They make plays more accessible from sensory, emotional, physical, and financial standpoints. At their core, these performances are about inclusivity, diversity, and empathy.

People who might enjoy relaxed performances include – but are not limited to – those with autism, sensory processing conditions, anxiety, learning or intellectual disabilities, difficulty sitting still or quietly, and families with infants and toddlers.

There is enormous community support for our relaxed performances. They are highly anticipated, well-attended, and beloved by many. We have a loyal group of patrons who exclusively attend our relaxed shows and who return for every performance. We also welcome several new faces at each relaxed show as the word continues to spread. A vast spectrum of people attends our relaxed performances, including many with disabilities.

Why are they important?

We passionately believe that all members of our community should be able to enjoy the art we present on our stage. We also recognize that many people, for a variety of reasons, don’t feel comfortable in a traditional theatre environment. We aim to meet their needs with our relaxed theatre program.

Everyone who attends a relaxed performance commits to being compassionate, understanding, and kind. The atmosphere is warm, friendly, and as accessible as possible.

What sets relaxed performances apart?

While the artistic integrity of a play remains the same, the audience experience of relaxed performances differs in a few key ways.

  • The audience is reminded that there is a casual approach to movement and noise within the theatre space. Patrons can fidget, stand up, stretch, make noise, and exit and re-enter the theatre at any point during the show, for whatever reason.

  • The lights in the audience remain on during the performance.

  • Harsh sound and lighting effects are dampened or removed.

  • There is a pre-show introduction to let people know what to expect and to establish an inclusive environment. The talk is led by our accessibility coordinator who has lived experience with disabilities. The talk includes:

    • A brief discussion of the play’s themes

    • Content warnings

    • Actor introductions, where the actors briefly describe the backstory, main qualities, emotional arc, and important actions their characters undergo during the show

    • Explanations and demonstrations of effects that might be startling (i.e. loud sounds, musical instruments, prop weapons)

  • After the performance is over, the actors return to the stage to re-introduce themselves to the audience. This usually involves the actors saying “although my character was murdered/ill/distraught, I am actually alright.”

  • Tickets are $10.50, but free for caregivers/support persons. (In comparison, a single ticket to a regular show is $41.)

Where do relaxed performances take place?

Relaxed performances take place on our stage, like all other shows. Our theatre is located on the ancestral, unceded territory of the Lheidli T’enneh, commonly known as Prince George. We are proud to be the largest professional theatre serving the Northern half of the province.

Theatre NorthWest

Unit 36

556 North Nechako Road

Prince George, BC

Relaxed Performance Dates for the 2023/2024 Season

Saturday, September 23, 2023The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

Saturday, December 2, 2023Miracle on 34th Street: The Live Radio Play Musical by Lance Arthur Smith

Saturday, February 24, 2024Sexy Laundry by Michele Riml

Saturday, May 11, 2024Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles by Steven Canny and John Nicholson

When to Arrive for a Relaxed Performance

1:00pm                Doors to the lobby will open

Patrons can begin arriving as early as 1:00pm. They can socialize in the lobby and purchase food and drinks at the concession stand. Patrons CANNOT enter the theatre to choose their seats at this time.

1:30pm                Doors to the theatre will open

Patrons can begin taking their seats.

Please note that we currently use festival/unassigned seating for relaxed performances. So, patrons can sit wherever they like on a first-come-first-served basis. We encourage patrons who are able to climb stairs and sit in a higher row to do so. That way, the lower rows of seats are available for patrons with more limited mobility. The first row will be reserved for people with wheelchairs and other large mobility aids.

2:00pm                Pre-show speech and actor introduction begins

Patrons must be in their seats by 2:00pm. The accessibility coordinator will begin the pre-show talk at this time. The pre-show talk will vary in length for each play.

~2:10pm              Play begins

The play will begin following the pre-show talk.

Run Times

All plays vary in length. But, on average, they last approximately 2 hours. More accurate run times will be known closer to the opening of each play and can be found on our ticket-buying website,


If a play has an intermission, there will be a 20-minute break in the middle. During this time, patrons can remain in their seats or move to the lobby.


The concession stand will be open before the play begins and during intermission. Drinks and snacks will be for sale. Patrons can pay with cash, debit, or credit.


We currently use festival seating for relaxed performances. That means seats are not assigned in advance, and seat numbers will not be listed on tickets. Patrons will choose their seats when they arrive for the performance on a first-come-first-served basis. Patrons can begin taking their seats at 1:30pm.

Accessible Seating

We strongly encourage patrons who are able to climb stairs and sit in a higher row to do so. That way, the lower rows of seats are available for patrons with more limited mobility. The entire first row will be reserved for those with wheelchairs.

Wheelchair-accessible Seating

We recently purchased new, free-standing chairs for the front row. They can be removed as needed to create wheelchair-accessible spaces. So, we can now accommodate up to 19 patrons in wheelchairs at once, instead of only 9.

Due to high community demand, all wheelchair-accessible tickets for relaxed performances during our 2023/2024 season are already sold out.

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets are $10.50.

There is a special price for caregivers/support people, though, which is $0. Please, select the $0 caregiver price option when purchasing a ticket for a support person.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Content Warnings and Sensory Impact

Brief, general content warnings for each play are released at the beginning of the season. They can be found at

More specific content warnings and details about a play’s sensory impact will only be known closer to its opening performance. That information will be emailed to those who have purchased relaxed show tickets.

Ear Protection

Ear defenders and earplugs are available for use at the theatre. They can be found at the front desk/box office area. Ear defenders go over the ears and are sanitized between uses. They must be returned before leaving the theatre. Earplugs go within the ears and are single use.


Hearing Assistance

We have installed new hearing assistance technology in our theatre – a hearing loop system. Hearing loops transmit amplified, clear sound directly into someone’s Telecoil-equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants. Sound from the stage is amplified while background noise is suppressed. For more details, please visit

How to connect to the hearing loop system

Turn on your hearing aid or cochlear implant’s Telecoil receiver. Depending on your specific device, this may be done by:

  • Flipping a switch or pushing a button directly on the hearing aids
  • Changing a setting in a smartphone app connected to the hearing aids

Please, contact your audiologist to learn how to operate your personal hearing device.

*Important note: Hearing aids must have a Telecoil receiver to connect to the hearing loop system. The Telecoil function must also be activated by an audiologist in order to work. Please, contact your audiologist before coming to the theatre to confirm the compatibility of your hearing device and to learn how to use the Telecoil feature.

Where to connect to the hearing loop system

Our front desk/box office and main audience area (the lower level, not the balcony) are part of the hearing loop system. People can connect to the hearing loop whenever they’re within these areas.

Patrons without Telecoil-equipped hearing aids

People can still use our hearing loop system even if they don’t have a Telecoil-equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant. They can request a portable receiver at the front desk/box office. We have 5 receivers to lend on a first-come-first-served basis.

The portable receiver is a small black box with a volume control knob on its top. Wired headphones are connected to the receiver. When the receiver is turned on, the user can hear amplified sound from the hearing loop system.

Visual Guide

To view a visual guide to our venue, follow this link:

This guide contains many pictures of our physical space, sensory items, and hearing loop system. We update the guide periodically to reflect major changes to our space. New and seasoned visitors may find it helpful to view the guide before coming to Theatre NorthWest.

Fidget Items

We have a selection of various fidget items for people to borrow while at the theatre. They can be found at the front desk/box office area. All items are sanitized between uses and must be returned before leaving the theatre.  Our fidget items include stress balls, large pom-poms, slinkies, plastic links, pipe cleaners, silicone button toys, and sensory bottles.

Winter Performances

In the winter, the audience area can become quite cold, even with the heating system turned on. Therefore, we recommend bringing a small blanket or extra sweater to wear during winter performances.

We have a small selection of blankets for patrons to borrow while at the theatre. They can be requested at the front desk/box office area. They must be returned before leaving the theatre.