Chicago, USA – A leader in offering barrier free performances for families with autistic children Chicago Children’s Theatre (CCT) does it again. This time they have set aside all 235 seats on November 1st for the performance of the currently running “A Year with Frog and Toad“.
Why all seats? As they say on the web site:
“This creates a safe, welcoming environment for children with autism, where nobody needs to worry if a child gets loud or active.”
But what else makes these kinds of performances so special?
It takes a lot of planning and training. Typically, prior to the performance, parents receive a “booklet” that describes what will be happening at the theatre and on stage. This provides the opportunity for parents to go over with their children what to expect and deal with any anxiety they may be having. Staff are trained to welcome the children in a way to reduce stress and ensure they feel safe and comfortable. Usually a quiet room is provided, just in case someone has a meltdown. Finally, the sounds and lights are reduced for those that have sensory issues.
Broadway began the trend beginning about three years ago with offerings of The Lion King and Mary Poppins with other cities following suite. The CCT had their first autism friendly performance “The Elephant and The Whale” in March of this year.
Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Theatre talking with BroadwayWorld says,
“We modeled the Broadway productions, and built on years of our own experience via CCT’s Red Kite Project, our ongoing series of carefully crafted theatrical experiences for children with autism, to create Chicago’s first-ever Autism-Friendly main-stage production with The Elephant and The Whale.”
“That inaugural effort proved to be a wonderful success. The kids were absolutely captivated by the show, and their parents were so grateful to have the opportunity to bring their children to experience live theater without fretting about the reactions of fellow audience members. We can’t wait to do it again.”
Prices for this autism friendly performance on November 1st at 6 pm. are $25. To reserve and for more information, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555.