As part of its mission to make the arts more accessible to all, the Matthews Playhouse of Performing Arts has added a special performance of its iconic musical Seussical that has been modified for children with sensory sensitivities and their families. This sensory-friendly performance will be at 11:00 a.m. on Sat., March 4. Dr. Seuss’ most beloved characters will spring to life on stage when Seussical launches its two-week run beginning Feb. 24.
The 11 a.m. performance of Seussical on Saturday, March 4 will be modified to have lower sound and light levels and eliminate startling or loud sounds. The theatre will remain dimly lit during the performance, and audience members will be allowed to stand, roam around, and come and go as needed. Parents are also welcome to bring certain items that provide their children comfort, cushions, headphones, electronics, snacks, and other support items. Designated quiet and calm spaces will be available to children as needed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every 44 children in the U.S. has some form of autism and/or pervasive developmental disorder that falls within the autism spectrum. Matthews Playhouse Executive Director, Sarah Baumgardner, believes offering sensory-friendly performances and engaging children on the autism spectrum is an important step in making the performing arts more inclusive.
“We’ve heard from multiple families who have children with autism, sensory sensitivities, or other social, learning or cognitive disabilities,” says Baumgardner. As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, Baumgardner recognizes the need for experiences like this. “Our sensory friendly performance of Seussical is intended to create a more welcoming and comfortable arts experience for them,” she said.
Seussical is recommended for children ages 4 and up. Showtimes and tickets are available at www.matthewsplayhouse.com/seussical. Tickets range in price from $10-$19.
KiDS Seussical Camp – March 4
To mark the occasion of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday – a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually March 2 – the theatre will also offer a special Seussical-themed KiDS (Kids with Disabilities in the Spotlight) Camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.
The day camp is designed for children ages 10-14 on the autism spectrum and/or with a cognitive or developmental disability. The cost to take part in the Seussical themed KiDS Camp is $25 and includes a special art activity from Coloring On Canvas Mobile Art Studio, a Seussical character meet and greet, interactive games and one (1) ticket to the Sensory Friendly Performance of Seussical at 11 a.m. (snacks are not included). Camp participants will be dismissed at 1 p.m. Space is limited to 15 children and participants must pre-register prior to the event. Interested families may register at www.matthewsplayhouse.com.
100 McDowell St
Matthews, North Carolina
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