The company behind the spectacular illuminations, 21CC, has worked with Scottish Autism to devise a Relaxed Evening – supported by The Walter Scott Giving Group - of more subdued effects, reduced noise and more static lighting. The aim is to make the trail, in the grounds of Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, as accessible and inclusive as possible.
Last year the event, which was Scotland’s first large-scale COVID-safe experience for the public, attracted over 35,000 visitors and this year is expected to be even more popular. But the sights, sounds and sensations of the show, which lights up the stately home and a magical woodland journey through its grounds, can prove challenging for autistic people or people with sensory processing sensitivities.
Determined to set the standard of inclusion for major events, 21CC engaged Scottish Autism as consultants to advise on best practice for the event on Monday, November 8.
The modified event is the result and will also include staggered arrival time slots, reduced capacity to minimise crowds and lower sound levels.
The team at 21CC have also worked closely with Scottish Autism to produce pre-event information which is available to potential ticket buyers through the Wondrous Woods website, and which will allow customers to ascertain what event would be best suited for their needs – the Relaxed Performance, or the standard performance, ultimately giving them the ability to make the right choice for them in advance.
Geoff Crow, Director of 21CC Group says: “When we came up with the concept for Wondrous Woods we wanted to ensure that as many adults and children as possible could enjoy the experience.
" Within the team we have some first-hand experience with autism so we understand that the multi-sensory nature of the lighting trail may cause sensory overload in autistic people or those with other sensory processing disorders and result in them feeling excluded. Working with Scottish Autism to produce something specially crafted for this unique group of visitors has been so satisfying.”
Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism said: “For many autistic people, the sensory aspect of an event like this can prove to be overwhelming, however with some minor adjustments and preparation in place, autistic people can enjoy this attraction with their families.”
Designed and produced by the team at 21CC Group, this year’s trail runs from October 21 to November 14 and showcases a host of new and exciting festival themed-features. For further details and to purchase tickets, visit www.wondrouswoods.com/relaxed-evening and www.wondrouswoods.com