Autism-Friendly Performance: Captain Louie Jr.

Where: Peabody School, Batten Building – 1232 Stoney Ridge Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902
When: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Time: 2P.M.
Tickets: Email autismtheatreproject@gmail.com to receive the ticket link and discount code. Tickets are free for children with sensory-related disabilities and their families. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

What is an autism-friendly performance?

DMR Adventures is partnering with the Autism Theatre Project to offer a free, autism-friendly performance of Captain Louie Jr. Autism-friendly performances aim to provide a positive theater experience for children with autism or other sensory-related disabilities and their families. While the performance will be performed as written, special accommodations will account for potential sensory challenges such as jarring sounds or lights. A quiet room will be available during the show for anyone who needs to take a break. Specially trained volunteers will be present to support you and your family’s experience. A “Coming to the Theater” video will be provided to help families prepare for this outing to the theater.

Resources such as a character guide, plot synopsis, and FAQs are provided below to help you decide if this is the right show for you and your family to attend. The full list of services is provided below in the FAQs. Children must attend the autism-friendly performance with a parent or responsible adult. After the show, families will be invited to complete a brief survey to help us improve our understanding of autism-friendly theatre.

Resources
Plot Synopsis: http://tinyurl.com/LouieSynopsis
Character Guide: http://tinyurl.com/LouieCharacters
“Coming to the Theater” video social story:


FAQs

Q: Is this performance only for those with autism or other sensory issues, or can anyone attend?

A: Autism-Friendly Performances are intended primarily for families with members on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. In addition to altering the theater environment to cater to those with sensory issues, a main goal of this program is to provide a safe, judgement-free, and comfortable experience for the entire audience. We achieve this by recommending this performance for those families bringing loved ones who have a developmental disability.

Q: What accommodations will there be? How is it different from other performances?
A: The Autism-Friendly accommodations include:

  • Alerting audience members to changes in the sound and lighting effects. Volunteers will hold out glow sticks to warn the audience when a “sensory surprise” is about to occur in the show.
  • A quiet room will be provided for those audience members who may want to remove an overstimulated person from the theater and have a place to relax. Chairs and tables will be provided, as well as a variety of coloring activities and fidgets. This area will be staffed by our volunteers. We aim to provide a live-streaming the performance in the quiet room so you can still enjoy the performance while taking a break in the space.
  • Resources such as a plot synopsis, character guide, and “Coming to the Theater” video social story can help families prepare for this outing to the theater.

Q: Who are the volunteers?
A: Our volunteers are undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Virginia with experience working with children with sensory challenges. Most are involved in UVA’s Autism Speaks chapter or NSSHLA chapter (National Student Speech Language Hearing Association). All volunteers are trained by Dr. Jane Hilton, Assistant Professor of Speech Language Pathology and the Director of Clinical Services in the UVA Speech-Language-Hearing Center.

Q: Will the show on stage be any different from other performances that are not Autism-Friendly?
A: Captain Louie Jr. will not have any content altered for this performance – please refer to the plot synopsis to determine the appropriateness for your audience member. Sensory effects, however, will be slightly altered.

Q: Will it be noisy during the show?
A: It’s very possible – expect there to be more than the usual ambient sounds from the audience.

Q: How can I prepare my audience member for this outing to the theater?
A: Resources such as a plot synopsis, character guide, and “Coming to the Theater” video social story can help families prepare for this outing to the theater.

Q: My attendee uses a wheelchair. What is the best access to the theater?
A: Our theater is located at the Peabody School in Charlottesville, VA. There is onsite parking with handicapped spaces available, and handicap access to the theater.

Q: Are service animals welcome?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate service animals.

Q: Are snacks and drinks allowed in the theater?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot permit snacks or drinks inside the theater.

Q: Can my family attend one of the other Captain Louie Jr. performances?
A: Yes! We provide an autism-friendly performance in hopes of creating a comfortable theater-going environment for families with sensory needs. Our ultimate goal is to make theater a more inclusive space. Please attend whichever performance is most convenient and comfortable for you and your family. Click here for performance times and ticket information.

Q: I have a question not addressed here. Who may I speak with to get more information?
A: You may contact the Director of the Autism Theatre Project, Ana Mendelson, at mendelson.ana@virginia.edu or email us at autismtheatreproject@gmail.com.

Acknowledgements

The Autism Theatre Project is made possible by the Coffelt Public Service Award. Special thanks to Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative, Boston Conservatory, Dr. Jane Hilton, Melissa Charles, our volunteers, Natalie Kirchner, Janice & Trin Mills, Michael Solis, Vikram Jaswal, Ashley Houze, Olivia Cosby, Madison Lahey, Annie Frazier, Jaclyn Lund, and Debra & Paul Mendelson.