Paws-itively Brilliant - A Successful Relaxed Performance

Posted on 11 January 2020

Following the success of our relaxed performances of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty over the last two years, we were delighted to host our third relaxed pantomime this week, with a specially adapted showing of Puss in Boot taking place on Thursday 2 January.

A relaxed performance is one designed to offer an open and welcoming environment for anyone who may enjoy or benefit from a more laid-back performance style, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities or dementia.

Differences include small changes to light and sound effects, the house lights staying on over the audience, and the option of a pre-show familiarisation session. Audiences are asked to be aware that other people may need to move around, make involuntary noises and/or come in and out of the auditorium during the performance.

Iain Lauchlan with twiddle muff

Ahead of the show, panto dame, writer and director Iain Lauchlan gave an introduction to the audience, talking people through what they could expect from the show. Fidget toys and sensory aids called twiddle muffs, kindly donated by local knitters, were available to pick up in the foyer for anyone who felt they might find it soothing to have something to keep restless hands busy.

Those who felt the need to leave the auditorium could relax in a chill-out zone in the foyer, which this year included specialist equipment purchased and donated thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of our friends at the nearby Town Wall Tavern, with the help of Deputy Stage Manager Graham Baird.

This included three sensory dens, which can be blacked out to help combat the effects of sensory overload, as well as a number of bean bags, lap pads, weighted blankets and shoulder wraps.

sensory equipment

A big thank you to the Town Wall Tavern, the local knitters (especially Niki Lee and our resident Craft On – Needlecraft for Wellbeing group, and the Monday knitting group at Caffe Isa ) for all of their help in making the show a success.

We’d also like to say a huge thank you to the fantastic volunteers from Gallagher Insurance (one of our dedicated corporate supporters), including Barbara, Sue, Ben, Liz, Kayleigh Christine and Josh. As well as working with the rest of the group around the foyers and in the auditorium to ensure a fantastic experience for our audience, the wonderful Josh also volunteered to get messy on stage as the unlucky victim of the famous “slosh scene”!

Barbara Dainty, Senior Account Manager at Gallagher UK, said: “We all really enjoyed volunteering at the Relaxed Performance of the Panto. It was great to see the joy in the faces of everyone, young and older, as they watched the show. The Belgrade put a great deal of thought, time and energy into arranging these events and this shows in the great successes that they are.”

Gallagher volunteers

We’re hugely grateful to all the people in and around Coventry who came together to help those who might not otherwise be able to experience the magic of our panto at Christmas.

If you would like to find out more about how you can support our relaxed performances, either as an individual or as a business, then please email

The Belgrade Theatre Trust Ltd is a registered charity (number 219163). All the money given, raised or earned is not distributed as profit, but kept and reinvested back in to our work. To find out more about why we are a charity, visit our Support Us page.