Sensory-friendly Performances

Experience the joy of live dance in a supportive theater setting.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other special needs. We have produced sensory-friendly performances since 2013; PBT was the first professional ballet company in the country to present a sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker. Other ballets in our sensory-friendly repertoire are Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan and Lew Christensen’s Beauty and the Beast.

2018 – 2019 Performance

The Nutcracker
Thursday, December 27 at 2 p.m.

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Prepare for the ballet and your visit to the theater with our pre-visit social stories:

The Nutcracker Picture Schedule See characters and costumes.
The Nutcracker Pre-Visit Story What to expect in the ballet and the story.
Going to the Benedum Get familiar with the theater.

Plan Your Theater Experience

Run Time: Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, which includes one 20-minute intermission
Arrival Time: The theater lobby opens at 1 p.m.
Parking and Directions: There are several garages close to the Benedum Center. Visit to view parking garages close to the theater. Find directions and other resources to plan your visit here.

What makes it “sensory-friendly?”

These performances feature a friendly, supportive environment for families with a loved one with special needs. Adaptations to the performance are slight, including:

  • lower sound levels
  • elimination of potentially startling special effects and lighting
  • house lights on at about 20%

PLUS, at this performance we have

  • relaxed 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 for taking a break
  • fidget objects and ear plugs available
  • trained staff, dancers, ushers and volunteers

It takes a village to produce a sensory-friendly production! PBT is deeply grateful for the  support of our partners: Autism Connection of PA, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and our wonderful performance volunteers.

Get Involved

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre seeks qualified volunteers (i.e., special education teachers, therapists, etc.) to help with sensory-friendly performances. Qualified volunteers can email to register. If you’d like to make a donation to PBT to help support sensory-friendly performances, please click here, and thank you!

Contact us:

Ticketing questions: 412-454-9107
Group sales: 412-454-9101 or
Questions about content or accommodations: 412-454-9105

Learn more!

Other Programs You Might Like…
PBT also is proud to offer adaptive dance classes designed for students with special needs. Themed around classic story ballets, our adaptive dance classes emphasize creative movement principles and modified ballet technique within a welcoming and structured studio environment. Learn more here.

Watch a video about our sensory-friendly performances: