Scholars, artists, curators, activists, local historians and members of the public will convene at Syracuse University Oct. 6-7 to discuss the rightful place of monuments in our society and the increasing complexity they represent today in terms of their cultural,…
Syracuse Stage Adds Sensory Friendly Performance for Every Production in 2023-24 Season
Continuing the commitment to deliver artistic enrichment to every member of the Central New York Community, Syracuse Stage announces that its 50th anniversary season includes a milestone in theatrical accessibility: All six shows in the 2023-24 season will offer a Sensory Friendly performance for patrons of any age to enjoy.
In 2016 Syracuse Stage offered its first Sensory Friendly performance with “Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins,” which was met with overwhelmingly positive patron response. The community enthusiasm for this inclusive event prompted Syracuse Stage to include Sensory Friendly performances of the ever-popular holiday musical in each season that followed. This year, because of the continued success of these Sensory Friendly performances, Syracuse Stage’s leadership is honored to expand this programming, giving community members of all ages opportunities to engage with each production of the 50th anniversary season in safe, inviting and meaningful ways.
“Syracuse Stage aims to cultivate an inclusive space for all who attend our performances. There are a number of people who are able to enjoy a production better when it is presented in the relaxed, accommodated environment of a Sensory Friendly show. The joy and communal experience of live theatre is something that we want everyone to be able to participate in,” says Robert Hupp, artistic director.
Sensory Friendly performances are designed with unique considerations for autistic adults and children, patrons with anxiety, cognitive or physical disabilities and other sensory processing needs. Sensory Friendly performances operate differently from other traditional performances in several key ways. House lights will be dimmed at curtain though will remain on throughout the show’s runtime, the sound levels in the theater will be lowered significantly, guests will not be discouraged from vocalizing in response to the performance and patrons are invited to come and go as they please at any time during the show. By creating a nonjudgmental, “shush-free” atmosphere, Sensory Friendly performances are part of Syracuse Stage’s commitment to make the theater a more accessible and inclusive live experience.
To prepare for Sensory Friendly performances, Syracuse Stage has engaged with community members and professional consultants to identify elements and content that may prove distracting or irritating to those in the neurodivergent community. For each show, Syracuse Stage has developed a Sensory Friendly Guide that outlines such moments and themes in the production in order to prepare audiences for the experience. For example, if there is a loud sound effect or slamming door, the guide will give an approximate time the event will occur, and small lights on either side of the theatre will illuminate prior to the event.
During Sensory Friendly+ shows—family-friendly offerings, like this season’s “A Christmas Carol”—moments or scenes may be altered to facilitate a more enjoyable experience. Performance modifications will vary depending on the show, and every consideration is made to uphold the artistic integrity of the production.
In addition to accommodations within the theater, trained staff will be on hand to assist patrons, and quiet spaces will be available for use any time before or during the Sensory Friendly performance. During Sensory Friendly+ shows, full Sensory Rooms will be available and outfitted with sensory objects, gym mats and activity stations. Although Sensory Friendly shows are specifically designed for children and adults with sensory sensitivity needs, families of these individuals—as well as any member of the community—can also enjoy these performances.
Syracuse Stage remains committed to making each and every performance accessible to all patrons, which is why Sensory Friendly safety kits are available at all non-Sensory Friendly performances. These kits include fidget toys, sunglasses and ear plugs for patrons to use throughout the show. More information about Sensory Friendly performances and sensory accommodations can be found on Syracuse Stage’s accessibility webpage.
All tickets for Sensory Friendly performances for the 2023-24 are $35 and may be exchanged or returned for a 100% refund up until show time. Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased through the Box Office (315.443.3275) or at www.syracusestage.org.
“What the Constitution Means to Me”
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Sept. 13-Oct. 1
Sensory Friendly performance: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
By Laine Robertson
Musical Arrangements by Danny Holgate
Directed by Jade King Carroll
Sensory Friendly performance: Tuesday, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
“A Christmas Carol”
Written by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Richard Hellesen and David deBerry
Music orchestrations by Gregg Coffin
Directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
Featuring 2 Ring Circus
Co-produced with the Syracuse University Department of Drama
Nov. 24-Dec. 31
Sensory Friendly+ performance: Saturday, Dec. 30, 2:00 p.m.
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Chip Miller
Co-produced with Portland Center Stage.
Jan. 31-Feb. 18
Sensory Friendly performance: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.
“Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express”
Written by Agatha Christie
Adapted by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Robert Hupp
March 12-April 7
Sensory Friendly performance: Tuesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Book by Enda Walsh
Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Based on the motion picture written and directed by John Carney
Directed by Melissa Crespo
Sensory Friendly performance: Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 p.m.