Autism Friendly Performance Offered at LI Children's Museum

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The LICM Theater is reserved exclusively for children on the autism spectrum and their families for an evening of live theater on Friday, March 28. ...

Garden City, NY - March 27th, 2014 - The Long Island Children’s Museum Theater is expanding its outreach to families with an “autism-friendly” live theater performance on Friday, March 28.  The 7 p.m. performance of “Aesop’s Fables” by acclaimed children’s playwright Mike Kenny has been adapted to create a supportive environment that addresses the needs of those on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities. 

“Presenting Long Island families with a sensory-friendly theater performance is a natural expansion of our programming to serve children on the autism spectrum and allow them to fully experience all that the Museum offers,” notes LICM President Suzanne LeBlanc.  “As an institution devoted to providing children with a safe and nurturing space to grow and learn, I am delighted that we are able to provide families access to the joys of live theater in a comfortable and judgment-free setting. 

Tickets for the exclusive performance of “Aesop’s Fables” can be purchased online, or by calling the LICM Box Office at (516) 224-5801.  Tickets are priced at $9 per person ($7 for Museum members).

Long Island Children’s Museum has developed a downloadable “social script” to familiarize audience members at this performance with their upcoming theater experience.  This intervention tool is used to share social information with individuals on the autism spectrum and prepare them for situations and environments they will encounter.  The “Aesop’s Fable” social script, which walks children through the experience of entering the Museum and attending live theater to help minimize pre-show anxiety, can be downloaded.

Production sound and light levels will be modulated at this performance and a “quiet room” for breaks will be available to audience members adjacent to the theater for use as needed.  Specially trained staff will be on hand to make audience members feel welcome, safe and comfortable.

In offering this first-ever Autism-Friendly performance, the Long Island Children’s Museum Theatre joins a select group of theaters and organizations across the nation that are providing barrier-free theater for families with children on the autism spectrum.  The Theater Development Fund (TDF) has been at the vanguard of these efforts with dedicated performances of “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins” on Broadway.  This LICM production follows the guidelines established by TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative and was developed with input from Linda Eisen, Education Administrator of ACLD (Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities) Kramer Learning Center.

“ACLD is proud to collaborate with LICM on this innovative project,” says Eisen. “Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families will experience live theater in a venue specifically designed to ensure comfort, engagement and safety in a most respectful way!  We hope that this production by LICM will start a trend to provide more of these types of performances for our children and their families on Long Island.”

“I am excited that the LICM will be offering the opportunity for members of the Autism Community here on Long Island to enjoy a live theater production without the expense and hassle of travel.  The ability to participate in a live theater experience in a safe and supported environment without judgment and stress is priceless,” said Suzanne Reek, President of the Nassau Suffolk Chapter of the Autism Society of America.

More about Aesop’s Fables
In “Aesop’s Fables” by Mike Kenny, wacky siblings Wolfie, Syd, Barry and Harriet tell classic tales with a slapstick twist, in the tradition of comedy teams like the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello.  Whether it’s The Tortoise and the Hare or the Boy Who Cried Wolf, everyone is sure to recognize one of Aesop’s great fables.  In this spell-binding production, storytellers use song, dance and drama to bring these famous stories to life.  
“Aesop’s Fables” is produced by special arrangement with Plays For Young Audiences, a partnership of Seattle Children's Theatre and Children's Theatre Company-Minneapolis.  The production is recommended for ages 3 and up. Public performances for this production begin Thursday, March 13 and run through Sunday, March 30 at the Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City, New York

About the Long Island Children’s Museum
The 40,000-square-foot Children’s Museum is a learning laboratory where hands-on exhibits invite visitors to experiment, examine, and play. The Museum welcomes 250,000 children and adults annually. The private, not-for-profit institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, offers museum-based educational programs and cultural experiences, as well as an extensive community outreach program offered in schools, libraries and youth centers across Long Island. The Museum is the recipient of the 2012 National Medal for Museum & Library Service, the highest honor conferred on museums for extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.

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