The Croswell Opera House is pleased to present a special sensory-friendly performance of Beauty and the Beast at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 23.
We know that for children with sensory sensitivity — a group that includes many kids who are on the autism spectrum — attending a live theater production can be a minefield of potential issues. From unexpected sounds to an unfamiliar setting, the experience can easily become overwhelming. We hope this production, which is the second show in our two-weekend run of this classic musical, will make the live theater experience accessible to more children and families.
What does a sensory-friendly production look like?
Here are some of the modifications we’ll be making to the performance and to the theater environment for this production:
- Minimizing any potentially startling sound and lighting effects, as well as providing a visual warning before they occur.
- Keeping the house lights partially on during the performance instead of dimming them all the way.
- Offering “buffer seats” between groups to ensure that children have enough personal space.
- Providing a quiet “chill-out space” outside the auditorium for children who become overstimulated and need to take a break.
- Offering families the opportunity to visit the theater beforehand and see their seats.
- Ensuring a judgment-free environment where children can feel free to vocalize or move around the theater if they need to.
More information about sensory-friendly theater
- Autism and the theater frontier (Twin Cities Daily Planet, October 2014)
- Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre expands sensory-friendly offerings (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 2015)
- Broadway’s autism-friendly performances are a hit (Autism Speaks, October 2013)
About past sensory-friendly productions at the Croswell
- Croswell presentation of ‘Cat in the Hat’ to include a show for kids with autism (Toledo Blade, February 2015)
- Sensory-friendly show offered (The Daily Telegram, February 2015)
- A special production of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ for kids with sensory processing issues (Understood.org, March 17, 2015)