On Saturday 29 July, the Royal Albert Hall hosted its first ever Relaxed Prom which was produced in collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Royal Albert Hall Education and Outreach.

Relaxed Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: BBC/Kirsten McTernan
Relaxed Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: BBC/Kirsten McTernan

A Relaxed Prom is a concert that is aimed specifically at children and adults with autism, sensory and communication impairments and learning disabilities as well as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and partially sighted. The concert therefore had a relaxed attitude to noise and movement, and encouraged participation throughout.

Andy Pidcock known as the “Music Man” presented the show with Grant Llewellyn, conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. To the left of the stage was Julie Doyle, a British Sign Language Interpreter, and Donna Williams, a Deaf poet who created ‘beautiful poetry to further illustrate the music’ – Grant Llewellyn.

Relaxed Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: BBC/Kirsten McTernan
Relaxed Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: BBC/Kirsten McTernan

The concert started with presenter Andy, getting the audience to clap their hands, and wave in time to the music whilst singing ‘Hello’. A young boy from the audience even ran on to the stage towards the orchestra and then ran off stage with his mother following.

The concert featured music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Rossini and Johann Strauss II, as well as Pharrell Williams’s Happy and the Doctor Who theme. There was also a performance by students from Ysgol Ty Coch (a school which caters to students with severe learning difficulties) and BBC NOW mentors.

‘For us as parents to be able to take our 26 year old autistic son to an age appropriate performance that he was captivated by from the start was such a special thing to witness.’
Sally Carmody (Email feedback)

Relaxed Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Photo: BBC/Kirsten McTernan

The concert finished with an electric performance of Soul Bossa Nova, which got the audience dancing, clapping and singing.

Photos: BBC/Kirsten McTernan