Presenting Sensory-Friendly Performances
In an effort to serve those with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other similar disabilities, the Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced it will present sensory-friendly performances of two of its most popular shows.
The Tempest, Shakespeare’s most magical romance, will be featured September 10 at 2 p.m. in the Anes Studio Theatre. The Sound of Music, the beloved family musical, will be September 17 at 2 p.m in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.
During these special performances, patrons will be able to enjoy the show together with family and friends in a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed space. Tickets are half-price, with some additional education and group discounts available. More information about the plays is available online at www.bard.org, but tickets must be ordered by calling the Ticket Office at 800-PLAYTIX.
“Theatre rules will be relaxed for these performances. Patrons can freely respond to the shows in their own way and without judgment,” said Interim Education Director Stewart Shelley. “This is our third time undertaking these types of performances, and our patrons enjoyed it so much that we are continuing the tradition again this year.”
These changes include the following:
- House lights will be left on slightly so patrons may see to easily move around. Some patrons may want to stand or walk a bit.
- Playgoers may engage in self-expression, singing and clapping along—or talking or making other noises to themselves.
- Playgoers will have the freedom to take breaks during the performance; they will be welcome to come and go as needed. The Randall Theatre cry rooms will be available to all patrons.
- Playgoers may bring a fidget toy or other calming object.
- Playgoers may look at phones and tablets or wear headphones during the performance.
“Modifications will be environmental, not artistic, so that patrons can enjoy the same artistic product seen during other performances,” said Shelley. “However, we may decide to lower or dim any strobe lights or sudden, loud noises that could startle patrons.”
Children must be four years of age or older in order to attend this performance.