Theatre bosses have been praised for holding a first ever 'relaxed performance' targeted at children with special needs.

Theatre Royal Brighton will host a performance of Scooby Doo on July 31 specifically designed to cater for youngsters with learning disabilities, autism conditions, sensory and communications needs and Downs Syndrome.

In the ‘relaxed performance’, lighting levels will be adapted and sudden, loud noises and strobe lighting will be avoided - all while audience members are allowed to make noise and move around the auditorium freely.

Additional front of house staff will also be on duty to assist during the special evening show.

Rachel Travis, from children’s disability charity Amaze, said she was pleased Brighton and Hove businesses were “responding to increasing levels of autism and other disabilities”.

She said: “Theatre Royal has been brilliant. It's great they're making productions in this way as it only benefits children with special needs.

“The number of children with Autism for example is increasing faster than any other special need in the city.

“It's a brilliant idea and it shows how the city is becoming more and more inclusive for these families.”

Theatre Royal Brighton joins The Duke of York’s, Cineworld and the Odeon cinemas to offer relaxed screenings.

John Baldock, general manager at Theatre Royal Brighton, said: “Families who have a child suffering from, say, autism, often feel reticent about coming to the theatre because they are afraid of disturbing other audience members.

“This performance will allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the evening.

“This relaxed performance is a first for us, but we hope to make it a regular part of our programme.

“We are extremely grateful to the producers and cast of Scooby Doo for their support and enthusiasm for this project.”

Scooby Doo runs at Theatre Royal Brighton from July 29 to August 2.

Call the theatre’s access line on 0844 871 7677 or book in person at the box office.