You may be asking yourself what exactly is a sensory-friendly performance? Sensory-friendly performances are designed especially for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities. During these programs, patrons enjoy shows together with family and friends in welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed spaces. We will provide environmental modifications to make the experience of viewing the performance more pleasant for everyone.
First and foremost, our sensory-friendly performance will be a non-judgmental, supportive environments so that all patrons feel comfortable attending. Our front of house staff and performers will be ready to interact with patrons in as helpful and friendly of a manner as possible. So that patrons can freely respond to shows in their own way and without judgment, we will relax house rules. While most of our shows encourage those attending to remain quiet and seated, during sensory-friendly performances, you are welcome to do things like sing or dance.
We hope to provide a welcoming atmosphere where vocalizations or other unique reactions to the music will not only be tolerated but understood and appreciated making the whole experience more relaxing and more enjoyable. Parents do not have to be “on edge,” planning reactions to “inappropriate” behavior. This opportunity for parents to relax will make the play more enjoyable for the whole family—something that is often missing from trips to public places, especially when those venues are usually considered to be “quiet” places.
We will provide quiet spaces that patrons can access when shows become too stimulating as well as sensory corners in the upstairs area of the theatre. Patrons may receive fidgets they can use to center, as well as headphones to block out unwanted sounds. We will also keep the house lights up slightly during shows so that patrons can easily move around when needed. Modifications are generally environmental rather than artistic so that patrons can enjoy the same artistic product seen during other shows; however, we will omit any strobe lights or sudden, loud noises that could startle patrons, since patrons do not have time to plan how they will respond to these surprising stimuli.
We are happy for our audience at the Saturday matinee to engage in self-expression, singing and clapping along with the music, experiencing it in the moment, as well as having the freedom to take breaks from the performance when necessary with a sense of comfort in the environment!
Although some patrons with sensory sensitivities may prefer coming to our conventional performances, those that would rather attend performances designed to meet their particular needs are empowered to make that choice.