Additional relaxed performance of The Planets following award of public funding

We are delighted to announce that our upcoming #APOplanets relaxed performances are being supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. And if you notice that it’s now ‘performances‘ rather than just one performance, that’s because we’ve added a third concert – another relaxed performance – on Saturday 1st February.

That means there will be two relaxed performances, at 2pm and 4.30pm, as well as the evening performance at 8pm. This is partly due to the funding, but also due to a high demand for tickets for all performances. If you haven’t bought your tickets, yet, we strongly urge you to book soon!

The relaxed performances will maintain the authenticity of a full concert-going experience whilst being more informal. There will be a particularly relaxed attitude towards noise and movement during the music, with the aim to make the concert format more accessible to children and young people with autism, sensory and communication impairments, learning and physical disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted. 

A heated and furnished ‘chill out’ tent, outside the hall but with a live link to the concert, will provide a haven for anyone feeling overwhelmed. British Sign Language interpreters, a deaf poet, large print programmes and the installation of raked seating are among the other features that have been made possible by the extra funding.

APO’s Chair, Emily Bushby, said, ‘We’re delighted to have received this support for the relaxed performances. We want to understand how we can meet the needs of families who have children with special educational needs and disability, so they can experience amazing live music. We can then share our learnings other local arts organisations.’

The concerts will take place in the Great Hall of the University of Reading and will each last one hour, without interval. Holst’s iconic music, which includes the well-known Mars – the Bringer of War, and Jupiter – the Bringer of Jollity, will be preceded by the equally-famous depiction of sunrise from Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra. All three concerts will feature original performance poetry between each movement, courtesy of the winners of a competition that APO has launched on its website:, for which the closing date is Friday 17th January. Poets of all ages are encouraged to enter.