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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Offering Sensory-Friendly Performances Of THE NUTCRACKER

The relaxed performances will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 16 and Tues., Dec. 27.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Offering Sensory-Friendly Performances Of THE NUTCRACKER

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) is offering two sensory-friendly performances of its holiday classic, The Nutcracker, this year. The relaxed performances will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 16 and Tues., Dec. 27. These family-inclusive and sensory-friendly events are for all audiences, including children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other individualized needs.

The relaxed atmosphere of the sensory-friendly performances provides a judgment-free zone where performers, theater staff and patrons are accepting of additional sound and movement in the audience and lobby. Adaptations PBT offers during these shows include:

  • House lights set to 20% brightness.

  • Lowered sound levels.

  • Break and activity areas on the main lobby and promenade levels before the performances and during intermission. Activities are sponsored by PBT and its partners at Carnegie Science Center, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

  • Family restroom availability.

  • Specially trained staff and volunteers throughout the theater.

  • Relaxed house rules (guests are free to move around and to enter/exit the theater space as needed).

  • Audio Description, or a live narration of the ballet, available at these performances. Headsets available at guest services.

  • Allowed use of iPads and other electronics for therapeutic purposes.

  • Fidget object and ear plug availability.

PBT will also offer audio-described performances of The Nutcracker, featuring live narration for patrons with blindness or low vision, on Fri., Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m., Sun., Dec. 18 at 12:00 p.m. and Tue., Dec. 27 at 2:00 p.m. Patrons should visit Guest Services before the show for assistance and can find additional information about accessibility services at pbt.org.

"We are so pleased to be able to offer two sensory-friendly and three audio-described matinees this year," said PBT Acting Executive Director Kathryn Gigler. "These sensory-friendly events are a step toward making the excitement and beauty of a ballet performance barrier-free, accessible and welcoming to everyone in Pittsburgh communities."

The Nutcracker will take the stage Dec. 9-28 at the Benedum Center. This is the 20th year that Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be performing The Nutcracker based on the choreography and concept by former PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. The annual production also features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic score as well as costume and set designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown.

The company's production of The Nutcracker features five scenes, over 150 costumes, 1,500 costume accessories and more than 100 artists from the professional company and PBT School. Adding to the production's enchantment are a Christmas tree that grows to 15 times its size, falling snow and over 30 sleight of hand tricks created by a professional magician.



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