Hartford, CT, November 5, 2019 – The sensory friendly performance of A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas has become an important annual tradition at Hartford Stage. Now in its sixth year, the sensory friendly performance – designed to create an accessible, welcoming theatre experience for children and adults with autism or other sensory-input disorders, as well as their families and caregivers – will be held Saturday, December 7, at 2 p.m.
Hartford Stage staged its first sensory friendly performance of A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas in 2014. Since then, over 1,000 audience members have enjoyed coming to see the show in a safe, comfortable, and supportive atmosphere.
“Our goal is to create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable for children with sensory sensitivities and for their families. Caregivers don’t have to worry if their child needs to move around, make noise, or take a break during the performance,” said Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education at Hartford Stage. “We have some families that come back every year; it means a lot to us that this has become a trusted experience for them. We do everything that we can to make sure families trying it for the first time have that sense of safety and acceptance, too, so that they can relax and enjoy the performance.”
While the script for A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas remains the same, some of the show’s technical elements, as well as the theatre environment, have been modified to help make the experience safe, friendly and comfortable for everyone. Lighting in the theatre remains lit, but dimmed, during the performance to allow safe movement for guests in and out of the theatre. Special effects, such as haze and strobe lights, have been eliminated from the performance; and the volume of abrupt, loud sound effects has been adjusted. Theatre staff, positioned on both sides of the stage, hold up green lanterns to signal audience members when potentially frightening moments are about to happen during the performance.
Complimentary sensory support tools such as blankets, stress balls and ear plugs are available for audience members who need them. A designated quiet area in the lower lobby is also available. Trained staff and volunteers are on-hand throughout the performance to offer assistance.
Free, downloadable resource materials – including a social story, character guide and performance guide – can be accessed on the Hartford Stage website to help prepare audience members for the show.
United Technologies is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor. Support for the sensory friendly performance is provided by The Pryor Foundation. Hartford Stage extends a special thank you to Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative.
Tickets for the sensory friendly performance of A Christmas Carol–A Ghost Story of Christmas are 50 percent off regular ticket prices, starting at $25. The show is recommended for children ages 8 and older. To purchase tickets, contact the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151 or visit http://www.hartfordstage.org/sensory-friendly.
Hartford Stage enters its 56th season beginning an exciting new chapter. Newly-appointed Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and Managing Director Cynthia Rider will continue the theatre’s legacy of artistic excellence by creating theatrical works that enlighten, entertain, and educate.
Renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics, as well as provocative new plays and musicals, Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Additional national recognition includes honors from the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing (OBIE), and the New York Critics Circle.
Hartford Stage has produced over 80 world and North American premieres, including the new musical Anastasia, which enjoyed a two-year run on Broadway; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other notable premieres include The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum; Make Believe by Bess Wohl; The Age of Innocence by Douglas McGrath; Seder by Sarah Gancher; Rear Window, adapted by Keith Reddin, and starring Kevin Bacon; An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty. Nationally-renowned titles include the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans’ Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger’s Children; and Tea at Five.The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.
The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Education @ Hartford Stage offers student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses. Education @ Hartford Stage programming reaches approximately 21,000 Connecticut students annually.