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Disney's THE LION KING to Offer Sensory-Friendly Performance at Orpheum Theatre, 7/30

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Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that it will be offering a sensory-friendly performance of Disney's THE LION KING for individuals with sensory, social and learning disabilities, and their families on Saturday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Minneapolis is the fifth city in the country to present such a performance of this show, joining New York, Boston, Houston and Pittsburgh. This marks the first-ever sensory-friendly performance of a touring Broadway show in Minnesota. Tickets and information are available now online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org/SensoryFriendly or by calling 866-276-4884.

"We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy live theatre," said Tom Hoch, Hennepin Theatre Trust's CEO/President. "We're excited to work with Disney to enable all audiences to experience this award-winning show."

Modeled after a successful performance of THE LION KING sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway, the Trust's sensory-friendly experience provides a supportive environment for the audience. Slight adjustments to the performance will be implemented. For example, jarring sounds will be reduced and strobe lights focused into the audience will be eliminated. In addition, the Orpheum Theatre lobby will offer quiet spaces and activity areas for families, there will be standing and movement accessibility throughout the theatre, and sensory objects including fidgets, earplugs and noise canceling ear-muffs will be provided. Trained staff and volunteers will be available to offer encouragement and assistance to patrons.

The Trust is working closely with Disney Theatrical Productions and Fraser, Minnesota's largest provider of autism services, to offer patrons with sensory, social and learning disabilities the opportunity to enjoy this world-class production in a welcoming and supportive environment. An advisory committee of local educators, therapists and community experts are guiding efforts to identify and reach appropriate audiences, develop alternative activity areas during the performance, and recruit and train volunteers.

Patrons will receive illustrated guidance materials and have an opportunity to become familiar with the theatre and their seat locations before they attend the show. They will also be encouraged to bring their own manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects and support items to the theatre to use during the performance.

"We've enjoyed collaborating with Hennepin Theatre Trust to provide expertise and guidance on techniques to make the theater experience sensory friendly," said Diane S. Cross, Fraser President and CEO. "This initiative will directly benefit individuals with special needs by providing a theatrical experience that may not be typically accessible."

This sensory-friendly experience is made possible by an access grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The Trust is independently raising additional funds to underwrite other expenses related to the performance.

Disney's THE LION KING will play the Orpheum Theatre July 5-Aug. 7, 2016, and is part of the 2015-2016 Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season. For more information, please visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org.


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