Monday, July 13, 2015

Center for Puppetry Arts Launches 2015-16 Sensory-Friendly Programming



Special Programming Adapted for Patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorder

ATLANTA (July 9, 2015) – Building off its 2015 successes in presenting programming uniquely modified for patrons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the Center for Puppetry Arts is proud to announce a full slate of sensory-friendly programming to occur during its 2015-16 season. These modifications of the Center’s regular programming will allow guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder to experience sensory-friendly Family Series performances, museum exhibits and Create-A-Puppet Workshops™. Guests will be welcomed by staff members who have been trained in interactions with patrons with ASD.

"Our commitment to integrate sensory-friendly programming into our season in a more intentional way reflects our desire to invite ALL patrons to find themselves at home in puppetry,” noted Aretta Baumgartner, the Center’s Education Director. “The judgment-free zone we're providing is a safe, comfortable way to introduce the Center and shared public arts experiences to the children and families of the ASD community.”

The Center’s staff worked with the Walden Early Childhood Center at Emory University to learn about ASD and how to best adapt programming to serve the needs of this community. The adaptation process occurred over a series of months involving workshops, discussions and training for Center staff that culminated into two performances during the spring of 2015. Audience reactions to these events were phenomenal with numerous patrons commenting on how touched they were to be provided with this type of accessible programming.  The Center was thrilled with the feedback and thus, made the decision to incorporate more sensory-friendly experiences into this year’s lineup.   

Several alterations will be employed in the theater to create a comfortable setting for guests with ASD, such as a pre-show demo, lights on (but dimmed) inside the theater, consistent sound levels and lower volume of the show soundtrack, freedom for children to talk and to leave their seat if necessary, a quiet zone in the lobby and permission for guests to bring quiet, contained snacks and beverages to enjoy during the performance.

Create-A-Puppet Workshop classrooms will be brighter, quieter and feature less-messy puppet building materials and slightly simplified puppet designs.

Beginning in January, this modified programming also extends to include our expanded Museum, where lighting will be adjusted and specialized educational activities (such as touch tables and guided storytelling) will be integrated.

Ticket prices vary by production or activity; check website for exact pricing of each event.

Sensory-Friendly Programming Dates and Times: (all activities occur on select Sundays to help with scheduling)
·         July 19, 2015Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1 p.m.
·         August 30, 2015The Tortoise, the Hare, & Other Aesop's Fables
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1p.m.
·         November 1, 2015The 3 Little Pigs & More (by Grey Seal Puppets of Charlotte, NC)
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1 p.m.
·         January 10, 2016Early-Entry Museum Exhibits And Specialized Educational Activities
o    Museum exhibit/educational activities hours from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
·         Feb. 7, 2016Space!
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1p.m.
·         March 13, 2016Galapagos George, The Little Tortoise That Could (by Barefoot Puppets of Richmond, VA)
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1p.m.
·         April 24, 2016Beauty & the Beast
o    Create-A-Puppet Workshops™ and Museum from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
o    Performance at 1p.m.
·         May 15, 2016Early-Entry Museum Exhibits And Specialized Educational Activities
o    Museum exhibit/educational activities hours from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION MAY BE FOUND ONLINE AT WWW.PUPPET.ORG/ASD OR BY CALLING THE TICKET SALES OFFICE AT 404-873-3391.

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