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.