Familiarisation Visit Guide

Visit the theatre before the show day for a private guided tour

The familiarisation visit is a private guided tour of the PumpHouse Theatre, where the Tim Bray Theatre Company’s sensory relaxed performance will take place.

These visits are available in the two weeks leading up to the sensory relaxed performance.

The tour will last fifteen minutes, and will begin in the theatre box office. To find the box office, go past the theatre with the lake on your right side, and turn to the left into the theatre courtyard. You will see a sign pointing you into the open doors of the box office.

In the box office, you will meet Sofia, the show stage manager or Tim Bray. Sofia or Tim will be your familiarisation visit guide and will show you around the theatre. You will explore the box office, foyer, and the theatre. Sofia or Tim will help you find your allocated seats so you can see where you will sit for show day. You will be able to see the set on the stage and learn which areas are for the audience and which areas are just for the actors. Next, you will exit the theatre with Sofia or Tim into the courtyard, where they will show you the toilets, and answer any questions you may have.

What will be different

Some spaces require special setting up for the sensory relaxed performance, so they will look different during your visit. Sofia or Tim will explain all of the differences as she guides you through the spaces. Some differences will be:

  • In the theatre, there will be chairs set up in the flat floor area during your visit. During the sensory relaxed performance, these chairs will all be removed, and beanbags and cushions will be in that area instead. Please view the welcome video for an example of what the space may look like.
  • The foyer will be set up as a chill zone during the sensory relaxed performance, with beanbags and a TV showing a silent live stream of the performance.
  • The chill zone won’t be set up for the visit, but Katie will tell you what it will look like.

Feel free to arrive early to explore outside the PumpHouse Theatre, to check out the carpark, the lake, and the café on your own before beginning your 15 minute tour with Sofia or Tim.

Book your visit

You can book your visit by calling the Tim Bray Theatre Company office at 09 486 2261, or you can email info@timbray.org.nz

Tours are available from 2:30pm-5:00pm Monday-Saturday, two weeks before the Sensory Relaxed performance takes place.

Travelling to the Theatre

 Performance location

Our performances take place at The PumpHouse Theatre at 2a Manurere Ave, Takapuna, Auckland 0622, New Zealand

Arrival by car

To find information about parking at the PumpHouse Theatre, follow the link: https://pumphouse.co.nz/visit/parking/

Arrival by bus

There are a couple bus stops which are less than a 10 minute walk from the theatre. The largest bus stop is Takapuna Platform 2 (Stop ID 3568) on Lake Road.

This is the stop for bus line numbers: 017 023 82 83 087 843 845 856 871 941.

The walk from this bus stop is up a gentle hill on Terrace Avenue.

Another close bus stop is Anzac St/Takapuna Primary School (Stop ID 3273) on Anzac Street.

This is the stop for bus line numbers: 017 089 856 871. The walk from this bus stop along Auburn Avenue is more level than Terrace Avenue.

When walking along Manurere Avenue toward the theatre, you will see the PumpHouse’s chimney. When you are level with the chimney, you’ll find a pedestrian footpath to your left, which is a series of ramps leading down the hill to the theatre.

You can also continue along Manurere Avenue into the theatre car park for a gentler downhill slope.

For more details about transportation and parking, visit the PumpHouse website: https://pumphouse.co.nz/visit/find/


What’s around Killarney Park

The theatre is in Killarney Park, a beautiful grassy reserve by Lake Pupuke. There is a dock leading out onto the lake, and benches to sit on to enjoy the scenery. You’ll see some ducks, geese, and other birds on the lake and on the grass.

Feel free to bring a picnic, game, or book to enjoy outside before or after the show.


French Rendezvous Café

The nearest food and refreshments are at the French Rendezvous Café, which is right next to the theatre. The café is generally closed on Mondays except in the school holidays.


Show time

Performance time

Performance times can be found on the Tim Bray Theatre Company website, under the Accessible Performances tab.

Arriving early

It’s ok to arrive early at the theatre. You can explore outside or wait in the theatre foyer until the auditorium doors are open, which will be about half an hour prior to the show. Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed inside the theatre.



Toilets will be available all day before the show begins. They are located in the theatre courtyard.

Theatre rules

During the sensory relaxed performance, relax, express yourself freely, and just be you. We aim to create an inclusive, comfortable atmosphere where everyone feels welcomed and supported. To keep the show running smoothly and ensure everyone’s safety, here are some rules to follow at the theatre:

  • The stage and backstage are for the actors and the crew only, not for the audience.
  • Audience areas inside the theatre are the box office, foyer, and auditorium. Audience areas outside the theatre are the courtyard, toilets, and amphitheatre.
  • Food and non-alcoholic drinks are welcome inside the theatre.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult to sit in the balcony or exit the foyer.
  • The seat matching your ticket is yours for the entire show. You may come and go from your seat as much as you’d like, but you can’t change seats during the show. If you don’t like your allocated seat, ask an usher to help you change seats before the show begins. If there are spare seats available the usher will try to reseat you, but this may not always be possible. Please refer to the colour seating chart before booking seats to ensure you find a seat that’s right for you.
  • Beanbags and Rock-It boards are used on a first come, first served basis, and cannot be booked or reserved. Keep in mind that multiple children may want to use the beanbags and boards, so please share.
  • You may bring a comfort item such as a fidget toy, ear protection, a small cushion, a blanket, or another small item you need to feel relaxed during the show.
  • Everyone is unique and needs to express themselves differently. The theatre is a no judgement zone. Please be supportive of your fellow theatregoers, and if you need help resolving any issues please come speak to an usher.
  • It’s ok to clap and cheer, or sit quietly. It’s ok to like the show, or not like it. It’s ok to close your eyes, take a break, cover your ears or stim. It’s ok to just be you!

Pre-show Introduction

Meet the performers and crew before the show begins

The pre-show introduction is a chance to meet the actors, musician, and backstage crew before the Sensory Relaxed performance to learn more about the show you’re attending.

The backstage crew will demonstrate some of the technical elements of the show, such as lighting changes, set movement, and special effects. The musician will demonstrate the instruments and the sound. The actors will introduce themselves and their characters and will explain key moments in the show like surprises, costumes, stunts, and sounds. The Show Guide will indicate when loud sounds or changes in lighting may occur, by covering their ears or eyes. The pre-show introduction will be in the theatre 15 minutes before the Sensory Relaxed performance.

The introduction is casual – you can come in at the start and attend the whole introduction, or you can drop in and out as you please. The audience can sit in their allocated seats, on the comfy seating, or stand, while the actors, musician, and crew are onstage or in their show positions (for example, the musician may be in the corner to the left of the stage).

The preshow introduction is optional. If you’d like to keep all of the show elements a surprise or would simply like to explore outside until the show begins, you do not need to attend. The ushers will let you know after the introduction finishes when it’s time to come into the theatre for the show to begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sensory relaxed performance, and who is it for?

A sensory relaxed performance is for anyone who would benefit from a supportive, less formal theatre show, or who finds it difficult to follow the usual rules of theatre etiquette. The welcoming atmosphere may be especially beneficial to children and their family members with sensory, movement, communication, and learning needs, and other neurodiversities such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and Tourette’s.

The show softens or alters some technical elements, offers support materials, and encourages a laid-back attitude to movement and noise to create a comfortable and inclusive theatre experience. I have been to a relaxed performance in the past.

What is the difference between “relaxed” and “sensory relaxed”?

“Relaxed performance” has a great variety of meaning, depending on where the performance is happening and who is putting it on. For many, “relaxed performance” means that the strict theatre etiquette is suspended, the lights and sound are made more gentle, and free access in and out of the theatre is allowed during the show. Our performance includes those elements and more, by providing supplementary materials to create a more accessible and inclusive event. We are creating a multifaceted performance that blends many unique elements to create a supportive, comfortable, non-judgemental theatre experience.

How is this performance different from a standard performance?

“Sensory relaxed” describes the differences this performance has to a standard performance, and the elements we are focused on altering or supplementing. The structure and substance of the performance and the story do not change; instead, supplementary resources are provided and some technical elements are softened or explained ahead of time, to give our audience an open, relaxed experience. We won’t be reducing or changing the actors’ performances, instead we are relaxing the sensory elements of the show, and relaxing the classical theatre etiquette requiring everyone to sit still and quiet in a dark auditorium.

How can I be sure that this performance is suitable for my child?

You know your child best, and only you can decide if this show will be suitable for them. Everyone is unique in their requirements, and we have tried to accommodate a wide range of preferences and needs, but not everything works for everyone. During a live theatre performance unpredictable events may occur.

Is the theatre wheelchair accessible?

Yes. The theatre has an accessible entrance, and the accessible toilet is located across the theatre courtyard next to the theatre.

There are limited numbers of wheelchair seats available, so please call the booking office at 09 489 8360 if you need a wheelchair seat.

Can I visit the theatre before the show?

Yes. You can book a free 15-minute private familiarisation visit tour for you and your child to see the theatre, check out your seats, and become familiar with the space.

Familiarisation visits will be available in the two weeks prior to the sensory relaxed performance.

You can book your visit by calling the TBTC office (information below) or email at info@timbray.org.nz

I’ve never taken my child to the theatre before, and I’m worried about how they will find the new experience.

Trying something new can be stressful. We will have a team of trained crew members and experienced volunteers on site to help you find everything from your seat to the toilets to the chill zone, and who will be available during the show to lend a hand or answer questions. Feel free to bring your child favourite toy or comfort item along to assist them.

Is it ok to move and make noise during the show?

Yes. During the sensory relaxed performance, the audience themselves is encouraged to relax- to move around, vocalise, come and go, and express themselves freely. The audience lights will be left on low and the audience doors will be open throughout the performance. It’s ok to do what you need to make yourself comfortable during the show.

The show is about to begin, but I’m not ready to go inside yet. The audience doors are opened about 30 minutes prior to the show starting, and they will remain open for the entire show. The ushers will let you know when you can go inside the theatre for the preshow introduction, and they will also let you know when it’s time to take your seats for the show to start. If the show is about to begin but you’re not ready to go inside yet, that’s ok. You can enjoy the silent live stream of the show on the TV in the foyer or explore outside until you are ready to enter the theatre, and the ushers can help you find your seat inside.

Will I be distracted by someone else making noise or moving in the theatre near me?

Our world is a noisy, movement filled space, and most people tend to filter out stimulus all the time in everyday life. In general, we tend to become distracted by noise or movement which we don’t understand or think is not allowed. If the performance is doing its job, you’ll be engaged in the story and won’t be bothered by noise and movement around you. Often people worry they may be distracted but find that the permission given at the start for everyone to be themselves means they can relaxed and watch the show exactly as they need. They generally find this acceptance creates an even more enjoyable experience.

Where will I be able to go during the show?

Audience areas are the theatre spaces where it’s ok for the public to go during the show. The courtyard, toilets, foyer, outside amphitheatre, chill zone, and auditorium are all audience areas. These are separate from the performance areas, which are only for the actors and backstage crew. Audience members are not allowed in the performance areas, such as on stage or backstage.

Can I take a break during the show?

Yes. You can come and go as much as you’d like during the show. The audience doors will be left open and the lights will be left on low throughout the entire show.

We will have a chill zone set up in the foyer with comfortable places to sit so you can take a break during the performance as much as you need. There will be a TV set up in the chill zone, showing a silent live stream of the performance so you can still watch while taking a break. If it’s good weather you can also go into the outside amphitheatre space to move around or relax.

Is there an interval?

There is no interval during the show, but you can come and go as much as you’d like during the performance.

Do I have to sit in the same seat the whole show, or can I change seats?

You will have a seat which matches the number on your ticket, which is your seat for the whole show. You can leave this seat to take a break or to use beanbags or floor space, and return to your seat later. When you wish to return to your seat, you will need to sit in the seat which matches your ticket, even if another seat is empty. I want to sit in a beanbag the whole show.

Do I still need to book a seat?

Yes, you will need to book a seat for the performance even if you’d later like to move to a beanbag. Beanbags are first come, first served, and they cannot be reserved.

Can I bring a snack or comfort item into the theatre?

Yes. Snacks are allowed inside the theatre. There is no food available for purchase at the theatre.

You may also bring a comfort item such as a fidget toy, hearing protection, weighted blanket, or small cushion into the theatre with you. We kindly ask that mobile phones and devices be turned off and put away during the performance. However, if you need to use your mobile phone or device during the show for accessibility reasons, please put the device on silent so it can be used without interrupting the show.

What supplementary resources are available?

Supplementary resources offer a wide array of support options, from specific details of the venue and the area to a scene-by-scene breakdown of the story. These materials are designed to help you prepare for your experience at the show. You can choose what elements you’d like to know ahead of time, and what you’d like to leave as a surprise. Some of these resources are specific to the show and will be available closer to the performance, while other materials be on our website permanently.

The resources available for every show:

  • A welcome video explains what coming to a Tim Bray Theatre Company performance will be like.
  • Travelling to the theatre information tells you how to get to the theatre, where to park, and what facilities are available on site.
  • A colour seating chart provides a detailed description of the seating available for the performance, and the proximity of the seating to exits, speakers, and performers.
  • A visual story about what the theatre looks like and what may happen while you are attending the show
  • A Story Summary and Meet the Team document give details about the specific show and performers you’re coming to see, to help you prepare for your visit and know what to expect during the show. These resources are available about two weeks before the sensory relaxed performance.
  • A free familiarisation visit offers a private tour of the empty theatre to explore the space before the show day. A familiarisation visit guide will tell you what the visit will include and what you’ll be able to do and see.
  • The casual pre-show introduction before the show begins will let you meet and speak with the actors, musician, and backstage crew to learn more about the story and the performance. The pre-show introduction will provide details of what to expect.

When can I get details about the specific show I’m going to see?
Full details about the specific performance you are coming to see, such as how long the show is, a detailed story summary, actor and character information, and surprises will all be available in the story summary, which will be posted to the Tim Bray Theatre Company website shortly before the sensory relaxed performance. Check our website for the dates that these resources will be available.

More questions?
If you have any further questions, give Tim Bray Theatre Company a call at (09) 486 22 61 Monday-Friday from 9:00am-2.30pm, or email at info@timbray.org.nz

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