Sensory Friendly Theatre
Brought to you by The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders,
Sensory Friendly Theatre (SFT) is a series of live performances specially designed and adapted
for children with autism and similar sensory sensitivity.
Expanding public recreation opportunities for children with autism and other disabilities was one of Union County Freeholder Alexander Mirabella’s “Putting People First” initiatives when he served as Chairman in 2012, which resulted in the creation of the Sensory Friendly Theater series.
Current Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter has extended the program under her 2013 initiatives.
“The Union County community has so much to offer in terms of enriching experiences in the performing arts, and Sensory Friendly Theater helps to ensure that these fundamental enjoyments of life are available to all of our citizens,” said Carter.
This unique performance series in designed and adapted in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Autism Friendly Spaces, LLC and the Union County Performing Arts Center. For each of the special performances in the Sensory Friendly Theatre series the theatre environment will be adjusted to provide a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families.
What to expect at a Sensory Friendly Theatre event:
• Each performance will run 60 minutes without an intermission.
• Seating is general admission and a limited number of tickets will be sold to maintain a comfortable size audience at each performance.
• Lights will remain up inside the theatre auditorium.
• Sound volume will be lowered and remain constant to prevent abrupt jarring sounds.
• Children will be free to talk and vocalize as they wish.
• Children may leave their seats under parental supervision.
• A private lounge area will be available where children and their families can relax. Fidget and stress sensory toys will be available for children to borrow as needed.
• Professional Autism specialists will be available throughout the performance to provide assistance as requested or needed.
• Resource Materials: "This Is My Theatre" Social Story Picture Packet, may be downloaded here. Families may use this Social Story tool to help acquaint their children with the experience of going to a live performance.
• Families who have not been to the Union County Performing Arts Center are invited to stop by and visit the theatre space and explore the seating areas two hours before the performance or by appointment prior to the performance date.
Contact Us For More Information:
For more information about this program or additional accommodations at the Union County Performing Arts Center contact Danni Rumsey by email or call 732-499-0441 x221.
For more information about other special programs provided by the County of Union click here or contact Margaret Heisey by email or call 908-527-4806.
Autism Friendly Spaces, LLC (AFS) is an organization that serves as a creative catalyst of change, by working directly with families and neighborhood institutions, enabling communities to become more inclusive. AFS understands the feeling of isolation and frustrations that families with autism face on a daily basis, and aims to provide these families with greater opportunities to take part in enjoyable and valued community activities.
We acknowledge and thank the following organizations for their input in developing this series of performances.
Please visit them online to learn more about their programs and services:
The Sensory Friendly Theatre series is made possible by the
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.