Ten-year-old Samantha Parryman, right, of Weddington, NC watches during a performance of Grace for President at the Children's Theatre of Charlotte Sunday, October 23, 2016. The theatre has decided every production this year will get a sensory-friendly performance for kids with autism, Asperger's and other issues who can't always go to a show. Photo by JASON E. MICZEK - www.miczekphoto.com
FMCT Provides Sensory-Friendly Theater Performance for Youth on Autism Spectrum
Over the last several years, the Fargo-Moorhead arts community has been working to better accommodate people with disabilities at art events beyond ramps and braille.
Audio description and American Sign Language accommodations are some of the ways community members with disabilities are already enjoying museum exhibits and theater performances. But there’s still room for growth.
Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre is one arts organization in the community that’s looking to make a greater, more inclusive impact.
After months of consulting area educators and autism professionals, FMCT recently announced the area’s first sensory-friendly performance in conjunction with “The True Story of The Three Little Pigs.” The performance at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Stage at Island Park is intended for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory, social and cognitive disabilities.
The performance environment will have reduced jarring sounds, dim lighting, consideration of talking or moving by audience members during the show, designated quiet rooms and “Take a Break” spaces, sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones) and additional staff and volunteer assistance.
“Preparing for the sensory friendly performances has taught our staff so much about the sensory issues some individuals have to deal with,” says FMCT Executive Director, Eloise Breikjern. “This awareness has made FMCT proud to be offering these special performances to families, making theatre available to those who might not otherwise attend a production.”
Audience members are welcome — and encouraged — to bring their own comfort objects and extra support systems to the show.
“The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” follows the Big Bad Wolf, who is on trial for the destruction and emotional turmoil he caused to three little pigs. Is the Wolf guilty, or is he a friend to the swine-kind? Audience members will get to decide at the end of the production.
Tickets to the sensory-friendly performance are $3 and can be purchased at fmct.org or by phone at 701-235-6778. The performance is 60 minutes with no intermission.