Trinity Rep Offering Sensory-Friendly Subscription Series for Theatergoers on Autism Spectrum
In support of its commitment to theater for all, Trinity Repertory Company announces a series of moderately-adjusted performances of every show in the 2017-2018 season to meet the needs of audience members with autism and/or with sensory-processing disorders.
Sensory-friendly performances will be identical to other performances of the run, but will feature a lantern placed discretely in the theater to let patrons know when a loud sound or intense lighting cue (such as strobe lights) is about to play, giving them the chance to close their eyes or block their ears.
Tickets Trinity Rep's sensory-friendly performances can be purchased as a subscription starting at $114 for all six plays or starting at $25 for a single ticket. The subscription includes all Trinity Rep subscriber benefits such as discounts on additional full price tickets, and VIP rewards for discounts at local restaurants and retailers and is on sale now. Non-subscription tickets will go on sale August 8, 2017.
The Sensory-Friendly Subscription Series includes the following performances: Death of Salesman (October 17, 2017), Skeleton Crew (November 21, 2017), Into the Breeches! (February 20, 2018), Othello (March 13, 2018), Native Gardens (May 1, 2018), and Ragtime (May 22, 2018). In addition to a warning lantern before intense sound and light effects, sensory-friendly performances will offer trained ushers in the audience to offer assistance, a social story and plot synopsis sent in advance, and a safe space in the lobby for patrons to return to if they need a break from the performance.
The sensory-friendly performances next season will build on the popular sensory-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol that Trinity Rep has offered for each of the past four years. Now re-titled Sensory-Friendly Plus! to indicate the nature of a sensory-friendly plus family-friendly performance, Trinity Rep will continue to offer a special performance of the holiday classic which will be a lights-on performance, inviting patrons to make sounds, enter and exit as needed and enjoy the tradition with their family and community. This year's Sensory-Friendly Plus! performance of A Christmas Carol will be on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 12pm. Trinity Rep will also offer a Sensory-Friendly Plus! performance of Ragtime onSaturday, May 26, 2018 at 2pm. Regular sensory-friendly performances will offer the warning lantern instead of moderated light and sound with show content more appropriate for an audience of teenagers and adults.
Trinity Rep's sensory-friendly season is announced in conjunction with the Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, an independent theater group made up of theater artists on the autism spectrum. Spectrum Theatre Ensemble was founded in 2016 with help from Trinity Rep's Artistic Leadership/Inclusion Fellow, Clay Martin. Although the Ensemble is not housed within Trinity Rep, Clay and the Trinity Rep artistic and education departments are mentoring the group's development into a thriving arts organization. The Ensemble is also partnering with Trinity Rep to provide support for the Sensory-Friendly performances. Spectrum Theatre Ensemble has upcoming performances this summer at AS220 and the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Provincetown, MA.
Clay Martin has led the charge to create Trinity Rep's upcoming sensory-friendly season. "With the sensory-friendly season initiative, we are hoping to build on the success and passion that created both the TRAIN program [Trinity Rep's Active Imagination Network, an acting and improvisation curriculum to engage children and adults with autism] as well as our sensory friendly performance of A Christmas Carol," he said. "We want to make sure that people of all abilities know that they can be part of the Trinity Rep family and are welcome at all of our shows."
Daniel Perkins, current student at Bridgewater State University and founding member of the Spectrum Theatre Ensemble is excited about the work of the Ensemble and Trinity Rep: "Growing up with autism, theater has helped me to understand the world around me and to articulate my thoughts clearly. The Spectrum Theatre Ensemble and Trinity Rep's sensory-friendly program will bring the theater experience to people on the spectrum in a way no one else can. "
"Adding a sensory-friendly series to our season seemed like the logical next step in Trinity Rep's ongoing quest to be more inclusive," added Trinity Rep's Director of Education JorDan Butterfield, "When Clay proposed the series to make all our plays more inclusive, there was unanimous support from staff and leadership."
Trinity Repertory Company is committed to making theater accessible to all, offering a series of accessible programs and offerings to meet the needs of the theater's diverse audience. Tickets can be purchased to open captioned, sensory-friendly, and/or American Sign Language interpreted performances. Trinity Rep also offers accessible seating and assistive listening devices at every performance. Every production features pay-what-you-can tickets for the first Thursday performance of each production, including A Christmas Carol. For more information about Trinity Rep's accessibility programs, visit www.trinityrep.com.
The State Theater of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company is now in its 53rd season. Tickets are now available for the two final shows in its current season: the hilarious comedy Faithful Cheaters (April 20 - May 21, 2017) and the powerful drama Like Sheep to Water, or Fuente Ovejuna(May 11 - June 11, 2017). Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring one of the last permanent resident acting companies in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 110,000. Since 1963, the theater has produced 68 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and trained hundreds of new actors and directors through its MFA program.
Subscriptions for the 2017-2018 season now on sale. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at www.trinityrep.com.