Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances for people from all over the western Pennsylvania region and beyond!Last year, PBT premiered the country's first-ever, sensory-friendly performance of the timeless holiday classic, The Nutcracker.
Based on community feedback, PBT is thrilled to announce two sensory-friendly performances for the 2014-15 Season:
- The Nutcracker on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm
- Beauty and the Beast on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 11:00 am
Where are these performances presented?
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Pittsburgh
What makes a performance "sensory-friendly?"
A sensory-friendly performance has been specially designed to serve patrons with sensory sensitivities and other special needs. We are making the entire experience sensory-friendly in three primary ways:
- Front of House
- Staff, Dancer and Volunteer Training
The production will be, for the most part, what you would see if you were to attend any other performance. First and foremost, PBT wants the production to retain its artistic integrity and impact on the audience. Some things will be different, however, such as:
- lowering sound and light levels so there are no sudden changes
- eliminating any potentially startling effects, such as the fire flares that signal Drosselmeyer's magic tricks in The Nutcracker
- keeping the house lights at half throughout the performance
Front of house -- everything from the lobby to where you are sitting -- likely will be where audience members notice the biggest changes. Some adaptations will include:
- relaxing of house rules--you are free to get up, move around, and leave whenever you need to
- allowed use of Ipads and other electronics for therapeutic uses
- volunteers scattered throughout the theater to assist and direct audience members as needed
- quiet areas and activity areas in the lobby should your child need a break
- fidget objects and ear plugs will be available
Everyone--PBT staff, dancers, ushers and volunteers--will be trained prior to the performance. PBT is working with many local autism and intellectual and developmental disability experts to make sure that everyone involved understands the spectrum of special needs that patrons may have and strategies for helping all patrons through this experience.
How long are the performances?
Both performances will be around 2 hours and 15 minutes long, including one twenty-minute intermission.
How can I prepare my child or myself for this experience?
PBT wants to ensure that all patrons attending a sensory-friendly performance feel comfortable knowing what to expect. We will be creating materials for the 2014-2015 sensory-friendly performances, and links to the online documents will be mailed to all ticket holders approximately two weeks prior to the performances. But, take a look at our materials from last year to get a head start!
- Pre-Visit Guides--Going to the Benedum Center and The Nutcracker production
- Map of Benedum Center Spaces
- Picture Schedule
Who can attend the performance?
PBT strives to create a safe space for families with special needs to come and be who they are during the sensory-friendly perfromances. However, we also realize that there may be other patrons who wish to avail themselves of the adaptations and accomodations that a sensory-friendly performance provides. This year, after careful consideration and discussion with our partners in the autism and IDD community, we have decided to open up ticket sales to the general public for these two performances. All ticket buyers will receive numerous communications from PBT that they have purchased tickets for a sensory-friendly performance and what that means. If a patron unintentionally purchases tickets for a sensory-friendly performance, they are urged to contact PBT Subscription Services.
How can I purchase tickets?
Information on how to purchase tickets will be available by the end of June 2014. Special discount codes will be distributed through PBT's partners within the autism and IDD communities. You will have the option of purchasing tickets online or over the phone. For more information about tickets, please call 412-454-9107.
How much will tickets cost?
Thanks to generous support from our community, including the Edith L. Trees Charitable Foundation, we are able to offer these tickets at a heavily discounted rate for families with special needs. Patrons will have a range of ticket prices and seating options to choose from.
Other patrons are welcome to purchase tickets for the sensory-friendly performances at our regular ticket price.
Who is supporting this sensory-friendly performances?
As we all know, it takes a village! Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre gratefully thanks our generous sponsors for the 2013 performance of The Nutcracker: The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trusts, Pitt Ohio, the FISA Foundation, and the Children's Institute. PBT also thanks ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Theatre Development Fund, and many others for their partnership and support!
How can I help Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre with this endeavor?
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be looking for qualified volunteers (i.e., special education teachers, therapists, etc.) to help on the days of the performances. Should you wish to make a donation to PBT to help support the sensory-friendly performances, please click here, and thank you!