Chicago Theaters Schedule Two Sensory-Friendly Performances

| August 23, 2017 | Comments (0)

blue man group2Chicago’s theater community has really done a nice job of including people with disabilities. Several theaters include ASL performances for those who are hearing-impaired. Recently, the Chicago Moms learned of two Chicago theaters with upcoming performances for those with sensory issues.

Blue Man Group, known for its lights, sounds and activity, has worked with Autism Speaks for 4 years to create sensory-friendly performances. Modifications for the performances will include a reduction of sound and light levels at specific moments and a limited amount of “chair walking” to help keep the audience more subdued. Sound reducing headphones or earplugs can be requested in different markets. If these efforts still create anxiety, calming theater lobby environments are available for families who need a quieter space. The next sensory-friendly Blue Man Group performance at the Briar Street Theater is Sunday, October 1. at 4:00 p.m.

The Goodman Theatre is offering its first sensory-friendly performance as part of its 40th anniversary celebration of The Christmas Carol. Sensory-friendly performance elements include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • House Lights remain on at a low level during the performance
  • A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience
  • Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
  • Designated quiet areas within the theater building
  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement
  • Limited crowds and visitors at Goodman Theatre during the day and timing of the performance
  • Goodman Theatre staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families’ needs.

Families will also have access to resource materials including social stories, a seating map etc. to prepare for their visit. The Goodman Theatre also has this note on its website: Individuals without Sensory sensitivities or not accompanying those who do are encouraged to attend a different performance of A Christmas Carol. It is a good reminder that these special performances might not be the best options for those who need a more traditional theater experience.

These are terrific opportunities for family affected by sensory-issues to attend two of Chicago’s best-known and most-loved theaters. Be sure to share the details with families who might benefit from these opportunities.


Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of Blue Man Group.

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Category: Shari's Corner

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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