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 (recommended for ages 4+).


Tuesday, January 9 at 6:30PM will be a Sensory Friendly performance of Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility (recommended for ages 12+).

View the Social Story for Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility, which is designed to help audiences prepare for the Sensory Friendly performance.


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.



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 audiece members communicate
  • Adjustments will be made to the script and acting to maximize comprehension of the story



When and where is this show taking place?
The Sensory Friendly performance for Charlotte's Web is taking place on December 29 at 2PM at the American Repertory Theater (Loeb Drama Center); the Sensory Friendly performance of Sense and Sensibility is taking place on January 9 at 6:30PM at the American Repertory Theater (Loeb Drama Center). The theater is located at 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA. 
How can I get tickets?
Tickets for this performance can be purchased online (click here for Charlotte's Webclick here for Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility), 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 individuals 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. Sensory Friendly performances of our family programming are 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 accommodating 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 of Access Programs.


Sensory Friendly Audience Testimonials: 

Sensory Friendly Performances at A.R.T.

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Click here to learn more about Charlotte's Web and click here to learn more about Bedlam's Sense & Sensibility. Look under the "Learn More" tab to access the Social Story and more reading about each production.