Working With Audiences With Special Needs

March 6, 2012 1:00 pm ET

Paper Mill Playhouse’s Director of Education Lisa Cooney introduced their new “Sensory Friendly” live theater performances for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. At these performances, the theater’s physical and aural environments are altered providing a sensory-comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families. In preparation, Paper Mill works closely with notable children’s theatre company Pushcart Players to adapt their scripts to be more easily accessible to kids on the spectrum, and creates resource materials to help prepare children for their outing to the theater.

Pittsburgh CLO’s Education Director Kiesha Lalama discussed “New Horizons,” a musical theater training program for children and adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities, offering students the opportunity to take center stage in fun-filled acting, dance and vocal classes. Fueled by the idea that there is no end to the skills and talents of our students, Pittsburgh CLO’s professional faculty design tailored learning experiences built around students’ gifts and contributions. Students spend class time honing their craft, rehearsing performances and exploring new ways to express themselves creatively. Beginners and more experienced students alike thrive as their strengths are showcased and their challenges eased by camaraderie and respect.

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