When you go to the theater, you want to be able to focus on what’s happening onstage. That isn’t always the case, however. Sometimes you get stuck with inconsiderate audience members who can distract you by talking through a performance or using their phones. At the Stratford Festival Theatre in Ontario, Canada, there’s one group that audience members don’t have to worry about being a disruption. Thanks to certain “relaxed performances” provided by the theater company, a group of service dogs have learned how to behave themselves at the theater.
The relaxed performances at the Ontario theater are for audiences who want to enjoy a show but can benefit from a less-structured environment. While all patrons are welcome, the performances are ideal for those with intellectual or learning disabilities, sensory processing conditions, and more. Recently, the theater put on a production of Billy Elliot for a very special audience. The service dogs from K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs were learning how to behave in the theater for handlers who might be interested in attending performances.