Visiting the theatre can be exciting but also challenging with having a different environment to cope with. The following suggestions could help you to plan ahead and make the trip enjoyable for everyone.

Before your visit

  • When booking mention that you have autism or are bringing someone with autism. If you need time away from the show during the performance ask for an aisle seat.
  • Check the theatre’s website to see if there is anything that could help you to prepare for your visit, such as a visual story or photographs of the inside of the theatre.
  • If needed ask the theatre if they know about our guide to making theatres more autism-friendly. You could email or print it for them ahead of the date of the show so they have time to make any changes.
  • If you would like to visit the building before you go to the show, contact the theatre and ask to arrange a convenient time.
  • Ask if there is a quiet area at the theatre that you can use if necessary.
  • If your or your child needs to use a phone or tablet to play games to help them focus or to keep calm ask the theatre before booking tickets to see if this is permissible.
  • If you or your child needs to move around a lot it may be worth asking the theatre about booking a "Box" - a separate seating area.

On the day

  • Remember to bring sensory aids such as ear defenders, or quiet fiddle toys with you if required.
  • If you have an autism awareness card take it with you so you can quietly say to a neighbour why you or the person you are with may be acting a little differently.
  • When you arrive if you feel that your seat is not suitable, ask a member of staff (usher) if you can sit somewhere else, and explain why (if the show is full this may not be possible so it’s always advisable to ask about seating when booking).
  • Talk to an usher if you need help as they know when the noisy and quiet parts of the show are. They can give advice about leaving or returning to the auditorium with minimal disruption to others.
  • If you or the person you are with need to go to the toilet, try to leave just before the interval starts, as toilets often get very busy during the interval. You may need to tell the usher you plan to do this before the show starts. They will be able to tell you when the interval will start and what stage in the performance would be a good time to leave the auditorium without disturbing other people.
  • Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) theatres offer a service to bring refreshments to you in your chairs.  If you would like to use this service let the usher know so they can collect your order.
  • At the end of the show you may be shown out by a different route to the one you entered by.
  • It is very busy at the end of the show with people leaving.  You will be able to sit in your seats until the majority of people have gone so it is quieter.

Last updated: 18 December 2015

Quick link to this page: http://www.autism.org.uk/theatre