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Accessible Theatre for All

By on November 27, 2017
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New Sensory Friendly Program Making Theatre Accessible For All

The Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA) is introducing a new form of theatre for people with special needs. While RAPA has already incorporated American Sign Language Interpreters and Hearing Devices for those with hearing disabilities, RAPA’s new Sensory Friendly Performance program will be specifically geared towards audience members with autism and other special needs.

Working with BOCES and AutismUp, the RAPA Team developed a performance program that is enjoyable for an audience impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other sensory, social, and cognitive disabilities.

Barbara Martorana, Director of the Department for Exceptional Children at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, leads the team who meet and exceed the standards of a similar program at the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Martorana trained the RAPA team and ushers on making this production accessible and enjoyable for all.

RAPA Family Theatre featured three Sensory Friendly Performances in the 2017-18 Season. A Year with Frog and Toad held on Sunday, October 1, 2017; and upcoming The Gingerbread Man on Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 4:30PM; and Treasure Island on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 4:30PM.

Audiences can expect these performances to have a reduction of loud and jarring sounds, no flashing or strobe lights, removal of actors in the aisles, theatre house lights remaining on at 50% during the performance, post-show character Meet & Greet location changed to limit distraction, and more.

Additionally, Martorana and the RAPA Team have developed a Social Story, available on the RAPA website to walk audiences through attending a production at the Kodak Center before arrival. At these performances there will be a removal of merchandise to limit distraction, different and limited concession options, as well as an extended intermission.

Tickets to RAPA Family Theatre productions are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors/students, and $10 for kids. Reserved seating tickets can be purchased at RapaTheatre.org or by calling 585-254-0073.

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