What is different about a ‘Relaxed’ Concert?

Relaxed concerts are designed as an accessible way to experience music. This means the environment, programme, length of concert and more is tailored to be accessible to everyone. For example the hand dryers will be turned off in the bathrooms, the screens will be off in the foyers and house lights are kept up during the concert.

In terms of the attitude to noise and movement in the hall…it’s really relaxed! Audience members are encouraged to come and go as they please and are welcome to wander around. There will be a designated quiet room next to the concert hall where people can go if they need a break.

For our concert on Sunday 22 May, the flat floor will be soft artificial grass so people can sit on a beanbag or on the floor if they would rather not sit on chairs (but chairs are also available!) and wheelchair users can go wherever they like in the hall. You can reserve a space and bring your own beanbag or blanket along, or you can book a chair.

What kind of music can I expect?

The music has been curated to appeal to a wide range of ages and tastes. For example on 22 May in Poole we have Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody and Liam Taylor-West’s Day One, while the concert on 29 May in Yeovil features ‘Cool’ from West Side Story and Vaughan Williams’ English Folksongs.

Are the concerts open to everyone?

Yes, they’re for everyone! For the baby that needs to cry; for older people who prefer to attend a daytime concert; for someone new to classical music who wants to try it out. We really want everyone to feel welcome!

They are day-time concerts, which enables easier public transport in comparison to evening concerts. The concerts are also shorter than one of our main-season concerts so it can be a bit easier to manage. It’s a great event for all the family to come to and it’s also for anyone who would like to enjoy music in a relaxed environment.

What can I expect? (Full orchestra or not? What to wear? How to behave?)

These concerts vary from full orchestra, to smaller ensembles, they’re not defined by the size of the group. They will also be presented, guiding the audience through the music. For example we have a new presenter, Polly Ives, who will be presenting our concert in Yeovil on 29 May who is going to bring some props along as a sensory aid to support the music.

There’s no dress code, please just feel free to wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. One of the key features of relaxed concerts is that we want to break down the standard concert etiquette; we’d like people to really feel that they can express how they’re feeling. So please clap between movements, get up and dance and express yourself. It’s just whatever feels right for you; we want to really strip all those expectations back.

Is there anything else I should do in advance?

Just bring whatever you would like to feel comfortable, whether this is beanbags, cushions or blankets etc. If you’d prefer seating though that is also available. You can book your preferred seating via our website, whether that’s a seat or reserving a space for a beanbag/cushion/blanket.

How do I find out when they’re happening? Do they only take place in Poole?

Keep an eye on our website for details of upcoming concerts as they take place all across the South West. The next two relaxed concerts are on Sunday 22 May in Poole and Sunday 29 May in Yeovil. We’re hoping to have more of these concerts as time goes on so keep your eyes peeled for listings throughout our autumn season.

And if you’re unsure if they’re for you, please come along! These concerts are a great way to experience classical music in a comfortable and flexible environment.

Come along to one of our Relaxed Concerts this month on 22 May at the Lighthouse in Poole at 4pm in partnership with National Open Youth Orchestra and on 29 May at Westlands Entertainment Centre in Yeovil at 2.30pm in partnership with Octagon Theatre Yeovil.

With Thanks to Allianz Musical Insurance for its ongoing support of BSO Resound