The Capital City Civitan Club became involved in this project after presentations by Betsy Ludwig, Executive Director of Arts Access, and Charles Phaneuf, Executive Director of Raleigh Little Theatre. The information about what they do and what Civitans support led to a new opportunity – helping with sensory-friendly performances, which are designed for individuals with disabilities, sensory sensitivities, and autism spectrum disorders.
The goal is to create a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed environment for children and their families to enjoy theatre. Sensory-friendly performances typically include:
- Reductions of loud sounds, dramatic lighting changes, and special effects;
- House lights left partially on during the performance and a designated “Take a Break Space;” and
- Accommodated house rules so that audience members are free to talk or move during the show.
Another key ingredient is to have extra staff and volunteer support in the form of Capital City Civitans!
Approximately 125 tickets were sold to this first of its kind event for Raleigh Little Theatre (RLT) and the Raleigh community: Alice@Wonderland. Based on these results and the positive feedback from those who attended, RLT plans to expand the program and offer more sensory-friendly performances in the upcoming season. Capital City Civitan is collaborating with them about how we can provide financial and volunteer support on an ongoing basis. It is clear there is a need for this type of arts access that is underserved for these members of our community.
Here are the sensory-friendly performances that were held in the 2018-2019 season:
- Saturday, November 3 @ 1 p.m. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Saturday, March 2 @ 1 p.m. Junie B. Jones, The Musical
- Saturday, March 30 @ 1 p.m. Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds