Sensory Friendly Performances

James and Ensemble holding giant orange peaches above their heads.

Friday, December 29 at 2PM will be a Sensory Friendly performance of Charlotte's Web!



What is Charlotte's Web?


A.R.T. invites families with members who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity sensitivities to a special performance of Charlotte's Web.
On the Arable family farm, a miracle is about to happen. In order to save young Wilbur from the butcher, Charlotte—a very special spider—hatches a plan to show the world how “radiant” one pig can be in the eyes of a true friend. Adapted from E.B. White’s beloved children’s classic and directed by A.R.T. Institute alumnus Dmitry Troyanovsky ('00)(James and the Giant Peach), Charlotte’s Web will feature graduate students from the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training Class of 2018. Click here for more information about the production.


Adjustments to the Show


Environmental adjustments to create a friendly, supportive environment, as well as alterations to the performance, include: 
  • The house lights will remain dimmed during the performance, rather than completely off
  • The intensity of lighting and sound effects will be reduced
  • A staffed quiet area will be available in the lobby for children who need to take a break from the show
  • There will be a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere where patrons can feel comfortable during the performance and enter or exit the theater during the performance, with the assistance of ushers
  • Trained volunteers will be on hand to assist with patron needs
  • Tablets and smartphones will be permitted to help non-verbal children communicate
  • Adjustments will be made to the script and acting to maximize comprehension of the story



What is a Sensory Friendly performance?
A Sensory Friendly performance is a theater production that welcomes individuals with sensory needs, including people on the autism spectrum, as well as first-time theatergoers and young children. The show is modified to allow for patron movement, staff and actors are trained to accommodate patron needs, and all patrons are welcome to experience theater in a  safe, non-judgmental environment.
When and where is this show taking place?
The Sensory Friendly performance is taking place on December 29 at 2PM at the American Repertory Theater (Loeb Drama Center). The theater is located at 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA. The performance runs approximately 1 hour.
How can I get tickets?
Tickets for this performance can be purchased online, in person, or by calling (617) 547-8300 during box office hours (Tuesday - Sunday, 12-5 p.m). A.R.T. Ticket Services staff will walk you through the alterations to the performance, as well as answer any questions you might have.
Who should attend this performance?
The Sensory Friendly performance is specially designed for children with sensory input disorders and autism spectrum disorder and their families and caretakers. We have made alterations to the environment of the theater, both inside and out, to facilitate a judgment-free, fun experience for the entire family. Movement and vocal reactions to the show are anticipated. 
Can people without autism or other sensory sensitivities attend this performance?
Yes. This performance is also a good choice for families with first-time theatergoers and young children. The A.R.T. strongly suggests that all patrons familiarize themselves with the adjustments and expectations of the Sensory Friendly performance, in order to help create a welcoming and accomodating environment for all audience members.
My child/family member/client with autism has difficulty with transitions. Is there anything I can do to prep him/her for this new experience?
A.R.T. will provide a character guide and social story to help you prepare for the full theatrical experience. 
Can I bring edibles, fidget toys, headphones or other items that help my child/family member stay calm?
My family member is in a wheelchair. Can you accommodate us?
Yes, A.R.T. is fully wheelchair accessible with an automatic door from the sidewalk located near the corner of Brattle and Hilliard Streets. The lobby and entrance to the theater are all at sidewalk level. 
Are service animals allowed in the theater?
Yes, the A.R.T. allows service animals to accompany patrons. 
If my child/family member is not able to sit through the entire show, will we be able to leave the theater? If they decide to, will we be able to return to our seat?
Yes, ushers and staff will be available to guide patrons to the lobby. If your child decides they cannot finish the show, you can leave the theater early. If they simply need a break, the lobby will have quiet areas available. Whenever possible, an usher will guide you back to your original seats when you are ready to return. Otherwise, you can be reseated in the back of the theater.  A quiet area upstairs will have a television with a live feed, so that you and your child/family member will be able to watch the production from outside the theater.
Does A.R.T. have any other programs for children or adults with special needs?
Yes, please click here for a for a full schedule.


The Light Princess Audience Reactions Video: 

"The Light Princess" at the A.R.T.

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Click here to learn more about the show and download the social story under the "Learn More" tab (when available).