Autism/Special Needs Friendly Performances
Each of us has been touched, in some
way, by a friend or family member with special needs or diagnosed along
the Autism spectrum. ArtsNashoba is honored
to present a performances specifically adapted for this special
population, their families, their educators and caregivers. For
more information about ArtsNashoba's Autism/Special Needs performances, please email ArtsNashoba President Bonnie Marchesani at
What is an Autism/Special
There are often questions about just what
these performances look like – hopefully you find this information
Performances are designed and intended for those who are on the
autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At these performances,
the theater environment will be altered, providing a safe,
sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming
for all. Autism/Special Needs-Friendly Performances are recommended for
those families and caregivers that would like to bring a loved one with
a developmental disability, and for their teachers and advocates who are
familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some individuals
with autism and special needs.
There will no charge for the tickets to this
performance, however we do ask you to reserve your tickets either online
or email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no reserved seating you may choose
any seats that make you most comfortable. There is an aisle to
While our production will be performed as
written, adjustments have been made to alleviate any overly loud sounds,
jarring noises and intense lighting. Additional resources such as: a
character and plot synopsis; FAQs; a Social Story, and a Video are
provided on this website to help you decide if this show is appropriate
for your family.
ArtsNashoba will be providing an array of
services such as a "Quiet Room", fidgets, and specially trained staff to
help you, your family and friends have a comfortable and supportive
experience at our theater - the full list of services is provided below
in the FAQs.
Q: Are A-F performances only for those with
autism or other sensory issues, or can anyone attend?
A: Autism/Special Needs-Friendly
Performances are intended primarily for families/schools with members on
the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. In addition to
altering the theater environment to cater to those with sensory issues,
a main goal of this program is to provide a safe, judgment-free,
comfortable experience for the entire audience. We achieve this by
recommending this performance for those families bringing loved ones who
have a developmental disability, and their advocates who are familiar
with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by those with autism.
Very young children also have challenges
sitting for long periods, remaining quiet and can be sensitive to some
sounds. We welcome families with toddlers to join us at these
performances as well.
Q: What accommodations will there be? How
is it different from other performances?
A: The Autism-Friendly
Lights remain on, but dimmed inside the
Comfortable volume and consistent sound
levels, elimination of loud sound effects.
Audience members are free to talk and
leave their seat under parental/caregiver supervision - if you feel
it is making an impact on others' experience in the theater, we
encourage you to come and go as needed.
A Quiet room will be made available
is located down the hall from the theater, it is provided for those
audience members who become overstimulated and need a place to relax
(hopefully returning to the show later). Mats, chairs and tables will be
provided, as well as a variety of coloring activities, sticker books and
fidgets. This area will be staffed by our Therapist, other trained adults and an EMS person from the Groton Fire Dept.
Q: Will there be an Intermission?
A: The performance
lasts about 90 minutes. Roughly half way through the show there will be
an intermission. In the Conant Art Gallery there will be beverages and
snacks. Bathrooms are nearby and will be clearly marked.
No Food or drink is allowed in the theater
- only the Conant Art Gallery.
Q: Will the show on stage be any different
from other performances that are not Autism/Special Needs-Friendly?
A: Content is not altered for these performances. Sensory-effects, however, will be slightly altered. Amplified
audio levels are made to be more comfortable and consistent without
abrupt spikes in volume or jarring sound effects. And lights remain on,
but dimmed inside the theater. All audience members will have an
opportunity to meet the cast members at the conclusion of the
performance in the Conant Art Gallery.
Q: Will it be noisy during the show?
A: It's very possible - expect there
to be more than the usual ambient sounds from the audience.
Q: How can I prepare my audience member
for this outing in the theater?
A: We have posted a Social Story and a
video to help your family/school become familiar with the exterior and
interior of the Lawrence Academy theater complex. There is also: a
character and plot synopsis
Q: My attendee uses a wheelchair - What is
the best access to the theater?
A: The main entrance to the Conant Art
Gallery &Theater is handicapped accessible. There is a small circular
driveway in front of the entrance with ramps in the sidewalk. Pull
right up to the sidewalk for unloading/drop-off at the main doors of our
theater building. Although the main parking area is a few steps below
this level, if you are driving a handicapped vehicle there is a
handicapped parking lot next to this circular driveway.
Q: Are service animals welcome?
A: We do accommodate service animals.
Q: I have a question not addressed here.
Who may I speak with at ArtsNashoba to get more information on the
Autism/Special Needs-Friendly services and accommodations?
A: You may contact the
ArtsNashoba President and A-F Coordinator, Bonnie Marchesani either by email
by calling 978-448-5335
Special thanks to the Local Massachusetts
Arts Councils of Ayer, Acton/Boxborough, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton,
Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend who have made these performances possible!
ArtsNashoba Show Social Story
I am going to Lawrence Academy to watch a musical where actors perform and sing on a stage.
is about an hour and a half long with a 15-minute intermission (everyone
takes a break) in the middle. I will be in the audience. The audience of
about 100 people will watch, listen, and clap.
When I arrive at Lawrence Academy, I will follow
these steps in this order:
|1. Go to the check-in desk and get
a ticket for the show.
through the door into the theater.
3. Find an open
seat that I will be comfortable sitting in.
During the performance, I will:
|1. Be quiet and listen to the
actors speaking and singing.
Watch the actors on
|3. Clap when a song in finished.
But, if I don’t feel like clapping, I don’t have to.
If I need to take a break during the musical, I
Tell an adult that I need a break.
Go with the adult to the quiet room near the
Use fidgets, color, draw, drink water, and/or relax.
Tell the adult when I am done with my break.
Return to the theater quietly.
Plot and Character Synopsis
Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.
Welcome to Agrabah, City of Enchantment where the narrators enter to set
the scene ("Arabian Nights").
At the palace gates, townspeople eagerly await the arrival of the royal
family – for, at long last, today is the day they will learn who
Princess Jasmine's future husband will be! We will catch a glimpse of
our hero, Aladdin, as well as the greedy Grand Vizier, Jafar, and his
conniving parrot, Iago.
Ah! Here comes the royal family! Much to the crowd’s delight, the Sultan
begins to parade three prospective princes for his daughter, Jasmine.
Jasmine tells her father that she doesn't want to marry any of these
men. She wants to be the one deciding whom she marries and when. The
Sultan reminds her that the "law is the law," and the law says she must
marry a prince... by tomorrow.
Just then, we hear the police calling, "Thief! Thief!" A loaf of bread
has been stolen! Jasmine, wishing to run away, recognizes this
opportunity and escapes into the chaos. At the same time, Aladdin, our
bread thief, enters to avoid capture ("One Jump Ahead").
The Sultan realizes Jasmine is missing and orders a search. Jasmine,
concealing her identity beneath a cape, runs into Aladdin. They decide
to escape together to the marketplace.
Suddenly, the guards enter to arrest Aladdin. But as they drag him away,
the Princess reveals her identity and orders them to alow Aladdin to go
free. Razoul, the Captain of the Royal Guard, says that he is only
following Jafar's orders, and that the Princess will have to take it up
with Jafar. Until that happens, Aladdin will remain under arrest!
The narrators bring us to Jafar's chamber where he sits hunched over a
desk, scratching away at an old document with a quill pen ("Arabian
Nights – Reprise 1"). Jafar reveals to Iago that he has sneakily added a
new paragraph to an ancient decree. The decree now states that Princess
Jasmine must marry him if she is unable to choose a husband within the
allotted time! And, furthermore, that he will inherit all the rights,
privileges and powers of the Sultan! He and Iago must make sure she
doesn't choose a groom before tomorrow ("Why Me?").
Meanwhile, because the dungeons are full, the guards drag Aladdin to the
outskirts of Agrabah, and throw him in a cave filled with piles of
cast-off junk ("Arabian Nights – Reprise 2"). Aladdin begins to despair,
all the while pining over Jasmine. Just then, a small lamp catches
Aladdin's eye. Trying to make out the writing on it, Aladdin rubs the
lamp, and –to his surprise – a Genie appears ("Friend Like Me"). The
Genie offers Aladdin the standard "three wish" package. Hoping to win
Jasmine's affections, Aladdin wishes to be a prince. With a wave of his
hands, the Genie grants this wish, transforming Aladdin into Prince Ali!
At the palace, Jasmine pleads with her father to release Aladdin. The
Sultan chastises her for running away, and reminds her that she is a
princess... a princess who must be wed tomorrow!
A parade of dancers, harem girls and attendants enter to announce the
arrival of Prince Ali ("Prince Ali"). Aladdin, as Prince Ali, tells the
Sultan that he has journeyed far to seek Jasmine's hand. Overjoyed at
this prospect, the Sultan proclaims that he has finally found his
son-in-law! The thought of a forced marriage still angers Jasmine, and
she storms out.
Nervously, Razoul informs Jafar that Aladdin escaped from the cave,
where we now learn Jafar has stored all of his stolen treasures!
Furious, Jafar realizes that Aladdin must have found the magic lamp, and
could now be disguising himself as anyone – even Prince Ali!
Unaware of Jafar's discovery, Aladdin decides to make another attempt at
winning Jasmine's heart. He travels to Jasmine's terrace, where she is
yearning for her poor, lost Aladdin. Still playing the part of Prince
Ali, Aladdin persuades the princess to join him on a magic carpet ride
("A Whole New World").
Jasmine leaves to tell her father there is going to be a wedding after
all – she and Prince Ali are going to be married! Suddenly, Jafar and
his guards rush in to capture our hero. Aladdin wishes for them to stop,
and the Genie comes through again, freezing the guards in their tracks.
Aladdin and the Genie escape, but accidentally forget to bring the lamp
with them. Iago finds the magic lamp, and presents it to his master,
Jafar ("Why Me? – Reprise").
In the throne room, the wedding is in progress. Aladdin is about to
admit to the Princess that he is not a Prince, when Jafar beats him to
it, exposing Aladdin as a fake ("Prince Ali – Reprise").
Now that the truth is revealed, the wedding cannot continue. Jafar reads
aloud from the ancient scroll he so cleverly doctored, and proclaims
that now he must become Jasmine's husband, and – most importantly – the
next sultan! Jasmine and the Sultan try to stop Jafar, but to no avail,
for Jafar now holds the power of the lamp. Jafar summons the Genie,
wishing to be the most powerful genie in the world! Seizing his chance,
the Genie grants Jafar’s wish, forever sealing Jafar in a tiny lamp.
The Genie then reminds Aladdin that he still has one wish left. Rather
than wish to be a prince again, Aladdin wishes to set his friend, the
Genie, free. Aladdin apologizes to Jasmine for lying, but she says it
was the law that wasn't fair. She asks her father again for his consent,
and he grants it! Aladdin and Jasmine can now be married, and live
happily ever after ("A Whole New World – Reprise").
There is much rejoicing in Agrabah as the curtain falls ("Friend Like Me