“Fulton Theatre has a long history of introducing children to live theater. After receiving requests for sensory friendly offerings, we realized this was an opportunity to better serve all families,” said Jennifer Ridgway, Fulton Theatre Director of Community Engagement. “Parents of young people with a sensory need may be reluctant to attend performances as their child may feel uncomfortable in the theater environment. It’s a startling experience for any first-time theater goers! Our Sensory Friendly Pre-Performance Workshop Program will ease families into the experience in a comfortable setting and have a positive impact on all children attending the theatre for the first time.”
Schreiber Pediatric consults with a wide array of clients, including schools and businesses, as well as arts and entertainment venues in central Pennsylvania, to make sure that their facilities and programs have the appropriate accommodations to create a welcoming environment for families with children who have a sensory disorder or who are on the autism spectrum. The trained therapy staff from Schreiber also provides training to the employees at these facilities so that they are better prepared to interact with children and their parents, who want to be able to enjoy their community just like any other family.
“This partnership with the Fulton shows how Schreiber can help our families in a new and exciting way,” said Dan Fink, director of marketing and public relations at Schreiber. “Too often, places like theaters, museums or science centers haven’t given much thought to accommodating kids with sensory disorders or who are autistic, so parents don’t feel comfortable attending. Or if they do attend, it may not be an enjoyable night out. The types of performances being offered by the Fulton Theatre show how you can make some small adjustments and provide a setting that anyone can feel comfortable in. We’re thrilled to be involved.”
Through the Workshop Program, children will understand what to expect and develop a skillset to participate in the new experience of live theater. Families may attend all or a portion of the workshop or performances, based on their comfort level.
Sensory Friendly Components of Program:
- Children may walk freely throughout the lobby and house.
- Families may select their own seats.
- Before 11 a.m.: Explore the theatre and see in live demonstrations in the lobby. This optional component in includes a “touch-tour” introduction to cast in costumes and elements of live theater such as set, lights and sound.
- At 11 a.m., a live on-stage performance with an explanation of lights, sound, applause, actors, curtains, set and costumes.
- Rest areas available in lobby with televised stage performance.
- Online resources, one week before the workshop and each subsequent production, will make parents aware of sound/light triggers in productions.
- Mini-stage presentation
Admission fee is required.
The Nutcracker: Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Jan. 3*
Cinderella: March 21, 28, April 4
Little Women: May 2, 9, 16
Peter Pan: June 13, 20, 27
*This performance only is a special Sensory Friendly production of The Nutcracker. The components of the October workshop will be in place for this production.
According to the Autism Science Foundation, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as a neurological disorder that severely impairs social, communicative and cognitive functions. The foundation reports that one in every 88 children was diagnosed with a form of autism in 2012.
Sensory Friendly Program Sponsors
Dart Foundation/Dart Container Corporation
The Hershey Company/Twizzlers
Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities
About Fulton Theatre:
The Fulton first opened its doors in 1852. 160 years later, this National Historic Landmark Theatre continues to entertain, educate and delight audiences, bringing live theatre, music, and more than 120,000 patrons into downtown Lancaster annually. Since its inception, some of the brightest stars of theatre, music and film have appeared on its stage, including Sarah Bernhardt, Mark Twain, Lionel Barrymore, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, W.C. Fields, George M. Cohan, Treat Williams and Lancaster’s own Jonathan Groff.
Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Marc Robin and Managing Director Aaron A. Young, the Fulton Theatre produces a mix of comedies, dramas and musicals, employing the talents of professional directors, designers, playwrights and actors from the local community, New York and across the country. The Fulton also offers acting classes for children, teens and adults as well as numerous outreach programs for youth across the region.
About Schreiber Pediatric:
Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with developmental delays and disabilities from birth to age 21 in the central Pennsylvania community. Schreiber also offer services for typically developing children, including pre-school, child care (4 stars from Keystone STARS) and physical therapy for children with sports-related injuries. Established in 1936, Schreiber has been providing these valuable services to thousands of children and young people for nearly 80 years.