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Center for Puppetry Arts Announces 2015-16 Sensory-Friendly Programming

Building off its 2015 successes in presenting programming uniquely modified for patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the Center for Puppetry Arts is proud to announce a full slate of sensory-friendly programming to occur during its 2015-16 season. These modifications of the Center's regular programming will allow guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder to experience sensory-friendly Family Series performances, museum exhibits and Create-A-Puppet Workshops. Guests will be welcomed by staff members who have been trained in interactions with patrons with ASD.

"Our commitment to integrate sensory-friendly programming into our season in a more intentional way reflects our desire to invite ALL patrons to find themselves at home in puppetry," noted Aretta Baumgartner, the Center's Education Director. "The judgment-free zone we're providing is a safe, comfortable way to introduce the Center and shared public arts experiences to the children and families of the ASD community."

The Center's staff worked with the Walden Early Childhood Center at Emory University to learn about ASD and how to best adapt programming to serve the needs of this community. The adaptation process occurred over a series of months involving workshops, discussions and training for Center staff that culminated into two performances during the spring of 2015. Audience reactions to these events were phenomenal with numerous patrons commenting on how touched they were to be provided with this type of accessible programming. The Center was thrilled with the feedback and thus, made the decision to incorporate more sensory-friendly experiences into this year's lineup.

Several alterations will be employed in the theater to create a comfortable setting for guests with ASD, such as a pre-show demo, lights on (but dimmed) inside the theater, consistent sound levels and lower volume of the show soundtrack, freedom for children to talk and to leave their seat if necessary, a quiet zone in the lobby and permission for guests to bring quiet, contained snacks and beverages to enjoy during the performance.

Create-A-Puppet Workshop classrooms will be brighter, quieter and feature less-messy puppet building materials and slightly simplified puppet designs.

Beginning in January, this modified programming also extends to include our expanded Museum, where lighting will be adjusted and specialized educational activities (such as touch tables and guided storytelling) will be integrated.

Ticket prices vary by production or activity; check website for exact pricing of each event.

Sensory-Friendly Programming Dates and Times: (all activities occur on select Sundays to help with scheduling)

· July 19, 2015: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1 p.m.

· August 30, 2015: The Tortoise, the Hare, & Other Aesop's Fables

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1p.m.

· November 1, 2015: The 3 Little Pigs & More (by Grey Seal Puppets of Charlotte, NC)

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1 p.m.

· January 10, 2016: Early-Entry Museum Exhibits And Specialized Educational Activities

o Museum exhibit/educational activities hours from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

· Feb. 7, 2016: Space!

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1p.m.

· March 13, 2016: Galapagos George, The Little Tortoise That Could (by Barefoot Puppets of Richmond, VA)

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1p.m.

· April 24, 2016: Beauty & the Beast

o Create-A-Puppet Workshops and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

o Performance at 1p.m.

· May 15, 2016: Early-Entry Museum Exhibits And Specialized Educational Activities

o Museum exhibit/educational activities hours from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION MAY BE FOUND ONLINE AT WWW.PUPPET.ORG/ASD OR BY CALLING THE TICKET SALES OFFICE AT 404-873-3391.

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The Center for Puppetry Arts is supported in part by: Fulton County Arts Council • City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs • Georgia Council for the Arts • Zeist Foundation • The Wish Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta • PNC • Aetna Foundation • The Coca-Cola Foundation • Regency Suites Hotel • WSB-TV Family 2 Family Project • YP • For a complete list of the Center's major supporters, visit www.puppet.org/about/sponsors.shtml.

Kermit and friends are getting a new home at the Center for Puppetry Arts! The nation's largest nonprofit dedicated to the art of puppetry is constructing a 7,500 square foot museum expansion. Set to be completed in fall 2015, the museum will feature objects from the Center's extensive global collection and will display the world's most comprehensive collection of Jim Henson's contributions to the world of puppetry. The project also includes a major renovation to existing spaces, including a renovated entryway, expanded research library and many other upgrades that will enhance the overall experience for all visitors to the Center. Due to construction for the project, all Museum exhibits will be closed beginning May 24, 2015 and will reopen with the unveiling of the newly renovated project this fall. For more details, visit www.puppet.org/believeinmakebelieve.

Center for Puppetry Arts is a unique cultural treasure - a magical place where children and adults are educated, enlightened, and entertained. Since 1978, the Center has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder and art of puppetry and has touched the lives of many through enchanting performances, curriculum-based workshops, and the hands-on Museum as well as Distance Learning and Outreach programs. Center for Puppetry Arts is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and is supported in part by contributions from corporations, foundations, government agencies, and individuals. Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs. These programs are also supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Center is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre; Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA/USA/ASSITEJ); and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY).The Center also serves as headquarters of UNIMA-USA, the American branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international puppetry organization.


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