Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker is a cherished holiday tradition for many. But for some families whose loved ones have sensory sensitivities, this experience has seemed out of reach… until now.
Partnering with Autism Speaks, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Breedlove Family Foundation, Kansas City Ballet is pleased to present a sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker for children, families, and adults with sensory sensitivities, autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome or other special needs. Appropriate changes have been made to the performance on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, to create a welcoming and safe space for all in attendance.
What makes this performance sensory-friendly?
• Reduced sound levels, especially loud and surprising noises.
In order to create a more calming atmosphere, Music Director Ramona Pansegrau will be leading the Kansas City Symphony in a softer version of The Nutcracker score geared towards anyone with sound sensitivities. Artistic Director, Devon Carney, also has worked to make any necessary changes to parts of the performance that may be alarming or frightful for this audience such as cannon shots, etc. All of these changes are intended to create maximum enjoyment for our audience.
• House lights will remain half-lit.
Keeping the lights in the theatre on at about 20% will allow just enough light for family members to see each other therefore making many of our guests feel more comfortable in this space.
• Relaxed house rules…
freedom to get up and move around, and permission to talk freely during the performance. Trusting families to behave in the most appropriate way that works for them is the goal. To help with this, audience numbers will be limited so that families can spread out in the theatre, as needed.
• Designated quiet space will be available throughout the evening.
Those that need a respite from the entertainment, for whatever reason, will be able to access areas to relax and recharge.
• Trained staff, ushers, and volunteers to assist patrons.
The Kauffman Center and the Ballet will have plenty of cheerful staff, ushers and volunteers available for whatever needs arise.
“We want everyone to feel welcome and to see the theatre as a safe space,” Artistic Director Devon Carney said. “We want the audience to let their imaginations soar and experience the magic of The Nutcracker.”