Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall secures Autism Friendly Accreditation

The Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham (TRCH) is proud to be recognised by the National Autistic Society for providing an autism-friendly environment.

TRCH has been granted the Autism Friendly Award by the National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for autistic people.

The award was given in recognition of the venue’s autism-friendly services, including; autism awareness training for staff, a range of adjustments offered to autistic people including early entry options, familiarisation visits, chill-out spaces, a changing area, opportunities to watch performances on a screen outside of the auditorium, relaxed performances, and visual guides.

The Autism Friendly Award is a leading accreditation programme set up by the National Autistic Society to help businesses play their part to create more welcoming environments and make a difference to the lives of autistic people throughout the UK.

TRCH’s Access Officer, Emily Malen, said: “We want every member of our audience, staff and visiting companies to feel included in making memorable experiences. These autism-friendly initiatives play a huge part in that process. From the team behind the scenes, to those taking bookings and in customer-facing roles, I am proud of every touch point in the journey that enables individuals and their carers and companions to be welcomed into the TRCH family. The advice from the National Autistic Society has been invaluable in ensuring we are aiming for the top of our game.”

The venue’s regular programme of relaxed performances is a great example of their autism-friendly practices in action, offering a less formal, more supportive atmosphere in order to reduce potential anxiety levels. Relaxed performances feature lower overall sound levels, less intense lighting and no pyrotechnics. The auditorium doors are left open should customers wish to move around, and there is a designated chill-out space in the foyer.

The next relaxed performance at the Theatre Royal will be for the venue’s annual family pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, on Wednesday 4 January 2023 at 2.30pm.

Christine Flintoft-Smith, Head of Autism Accreditation at the National Autistic Society, said: “The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham should be exceptionally proud of their achievement.

“The National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award sets high standards, that the venue has worked incredibly hard to meet.

“There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, as well as their three million family members and carers. Autism is a spectrum condition. This means autistic people have their own strengths and varying and complex needs, from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things. Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can become extremely isolated.

“The Autism Friendly Award highlights good autism practice and we are very pleased to be here to mark the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall’s achievement. It is a great thing in itself and, we believe, will inspire other businesses to improve the way they support autistic people.”

Find out more about Autism Accreditation on the National Autistic Society website: