Garden City, NY - March 24, 2015 - The Long Island Children’s Museum will kick off Autism Awareness Month with sensory-friendly performances of the Experiential Theater Company’s “The Adventures of Perseus.” Evening performances on Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2, 2015 (World Autism Day) will be reserved exclusively for families with children on the autism spectrum and with other sensory sensitivities. Performances are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Long Island Children’s Museum Theatre is part of a select group of theaters and organizations across the nation that provides barrier-free theater for families with children on the autism spectrum. The Theater Development Fund (TDF) has been at the vanguard of these efforts since 2011 with dedicated performances of popular productions including “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins,” “Spiderman” and “Matilda The Musical” on Broadway. This production of “The Adventures of Perseus” 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.
In explaining the importance of this initiative, LICM President Suzanne LeBlanc notes, “The LICM Theater plays a vital role in the Museum’s educational mission by developing children’s imagination, improving language skills and bringing history, science and literature to life.” It is important, she adds, that these experiences … and benefits be accessible to all families on Long Island. “Many families with children on the spectrum have told us they are hesitant to bring their children to any type of theater experience because they risk being judged. We want these families to experience the joy of the performing arts in a setting that is supportive, comfortable and convenient.”
What makes a performance sensory-friendly?
- Lower sound levels, especially for startling or loud sounds
- Guests are free to talk, leave their seats and move freely during the performance
- House lights in the theater are left on low throughout the performance
- Designated Quiet Room adjacent to the Theater
- Trained staff and volunteers
- Judgment-free environment, welcoming to all
In conjunction with the production, LICM will provide various resources to ensure that families are comfortable to enjoy the production and their trip to the Museum, including:
- Downloadable Social Script
- Seat selection
- Take-home, themed “fidgets” presented in Theater
These accommodations and resources were used successfully in 2014 when LICM launched sensory-friendly programming with the presentation of “Aesop’s Fables.”
Production Background: The Adventures of Perseus
Originally created at the McCarter Theatre Center, The Adventures of Perseus is a dynamic production that explores the use of puppetry in storytelling while introducing children to characters from Greek legends. The pre- and post-show workshops focus on the forms of puppetry used, including hand and rod, shadow and Bunraku-style puppets and marionettes. Advanced ticketing is suggested and may be purchased online at licm.org/theater.php. Tickets are priced at $9 per person ($7 LICM members). The production is recommended for children ages nine and up.
About Experiential Theater Company
Under the direction of Christopher Parks, the Experiential Theater Company is dedicated to creating high quality theater opportunities for young audiences. While at the McCarter Theatre Center, Parks and some associates pioneered the interactive style which has become its namesake.
About the Long Island Children’s Museum
The Long Island Children’s Museum invites visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to explore freely, discover their passions, and appreciate the communities and world we share. The 40,000-square-foot 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.
The Children’s Museum takes seriously its role as an introductory setting to launch a child’s lifelong interest in the performing arts. Presentation of the performing arts has played a central role within the diverse range of educational experiences provided by the Museum since it opened in 1993. The LICM Theater presents an active, year- round schedule of interactive multimedia performances featuring locally, regionally, nationally and internationally acclaimed groups.