A sensory-friendly performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is coming to the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford next month.
One of the eight performances will be a little less flashy and dazzling, but it’s on purpose.
"As I've been telling people in the 12 years that I've been here at The Bushnell, this is absolutely my favorite project,” said Missy Dinunno, who is the associate director of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
On Sunday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m., a sensory-friendly show will welcome families and friends with kids or adults with autism. The show will be quieter with limited crowds and some of the effects will be removed.
"So production wise, we'll be looking at a little bit of low-level lighting in the theater, so that patrons can move about a bit and not feel constricted to stay in their seats in the dark,” Dinunno said.
"One of the really important things about a sensory-friendly performance is that it allows our kids to come to a place, see cultural events, experience things that everyone else has a right to experience in a non-judgmental zone,” Mary Helen Richer with Autism Families Connecticut said.
Autism Families Connecticut works with more than 300 kids in the state, providing fun experiences for anyone on the spectrum.
In Connecticut alone, an estimated 9,000 children and teens under the age of 18 have autism. The number continues to grow, according to organization.
"Only a couple of years ago, we were talking about 1 in 88 children,” Richer said. “And now we're talking 1 in 68, so you're seeing a trend."
The Bushnell is extending an invitation to everyone, with more sensory-friendly shows planned in the future.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer runs from Dec. 11 to 14.
For ticket information, click here.
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