Charleston Stage’s Sensory-Friendly Performance Series
Charleston, SC (June 9, 2016) – Charleston Stage, in residence at the Historic Dock Street Theatre, has been awarded $25,000 from Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts via the Boeing Vision Award for Charleston Stage’s Sensory-Friendly Performances performed at the Dock Street Theatre.
This award through the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts will help fund Charleston Stage’s sensory-friendly performances for special needs children and their families.
“We are so excited to be able to help Charleston Stage launch this wonderful initiative. Bringing the arts to underserved individuals is critical, and providing an inclusive performing arts experience for everyone will be such a positive addition to our community,” says Mike Gibbons, Executive Director for the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts (Arts Alliance).
The Boeing Vision Award is given to a non-profit member of the Arts Alliance that has put forth a bold project vision for an innovative arts concept, in particular one that would benefit marginalized or underserved communities.
Charleston Stage was selected by a five-person panel that included members of the arts, education, and business communities, and that was approved by the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts Board of Directors.
“Charleston Stage is very honored to receive the Boeing Vision Award which will allow us to continue to expand access to our productions. Charleston Stage is committed to expanding accessibility to all our productions, and this gift in support of Sensory-Friendly performances for three shows next season will allow us to expand this mission. We appreciate the support of both Boeing and the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts in making these Charleston Stage performances available to the Asperger’s Syndrome/Autistic Community and their families”, says Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director.
Founded by playwright Julian Wiles in 1978 as a theatre for youth, Charleston Stage has grown to be South Carolina’s largest professional theatre company. In residence at the Historic Dock Street Theatre, it has produced over 150 plays and musicals for an audience of over 1 million. Charleston Stage employs 19 full-time staff members including an education staff of 10 plus numerous guest artists. Theatre Arts Education and Outreach programs continue to be a cornerstone of the company’s mission.
This past season, Charleston Stage launched its first ever sensory-friendly performance for special needs children and their families. It was a great success, and thus Charleston Stage is proposing this project as an ongoing initiative for this underserved community by holding one performance for each our three Family Series productions each season as a sensory-friendly performance.
The goal of this project is to educate and expose children on the Autism Spectrum and others with sensory sensitivities to the enrichment of live professional performing arts.
Children on the Autism Spectrum have what are described as sensory sensitivities. These sensitivities limit the educational exposure to live performing arts due to the nature of theatre etiquette and the large crowds it draws. The lack of exposure to these priceless arts education experiences is something Charleston Stage will remedy with our sensory-friendly performances, the first of its kind in the Lowcountry. By educating and raising these children up, we raise everyone up.
Children, families, teachers and therapists will have the opportunity to attend special live performances of Charleston Stage’s Family Series productions. Materials to enhance the educational value of the performances will accompany these productions.
Modeled after the same projects at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Broadway, sensory-friendly performances are specifically designed to be comforting for those with sensory sensitivities. Some of what that entails includes altering the theatre environment, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. The performance itself will be adjusted with special attention paid to lighting and sound.
Contact: Brian Porter, Director of Administration
PO Box 356
Charleston, SC 29402