Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

DCT Hosts First Ever Sensory-Friendly Puppet Show

When some families prepare to go out for a special event, their biggest challenge is getting everyone ready and into the car at the same time. For other families, like the 100,000+ families who have a member on the autism spectrum or other developmental disabilities, the biggest challenge is finding an activity their son or daughter will enjoy, in a welcoming, non-threatening environment.

top leftThanks to our friends at The Crystal Charity Ball, DCT has more than $500,000 to expand our Sensory-Friendly Performance Initiative by doubling the number of these performances over the next three years. On March 12, 2016 at 4:30pm, we are offering the first ever, sensory-friendly version of a Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts’ production with HANSEL AND GRETEL!

Nancy Schaeffer, DCT’s Education Director, told us why sensory-friendly performances matter now, more than ever. 

The generous grant from The Crystal Charity Ball provides us with the resources we need to tailor our offerings to families who have children with special needs. We were so excited to be able to develop this program after finding out how many families feel excluded from live theater experiences because their children and their sometimes unexpected behaviors aren’t welcome or because the venues they’ve tried in the past really didn’t understand what it means to truly provide a sensory-friendly environment. We have invested the time and energy to set this program up the correct way thanks to all of this wonderful support we’ve gotten, and we couldn’t be happier for our new theater-going families.

Since Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts is a vital part of our regular bottom rightseason, we wanted to be able to offer these high-quality, amazingly creative performances to our families that might need the sensory-friendly adaptations and experience. We’re also happy that these families will be introduced to another art form and another way of theatrical expression. We think they’ll love it.

Trish Long is a Master Puppeteer with Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts. She tells us how Kathy Burks puppeteers will connect with their new audiences.

All forms of theater should be accessible to all children. From my viewpoint, the characters become just as realistic as shows with real people. It’s quite a magical feeling connecting to the audience, and we’re honored to be included in DCT’s offerings for sensory-friendly families.

Before the sensory-friendly performance of HANSEL AND GRETEL, I’ll be in the lobby showing my puppet to children so they are aware of what they’ll be seeing and won’t have any big surprises. There’s a big difference between real people on stage and watching puppets on stage, even though the puppeteers are able to really bring the characters to life. There have been some children who thought they were watching real people after leaving one of our shows!

The goal of DCT’s programming has always been to make people are understood, and like they fit in. Including the Kathy Burks’ shows as part of our sensory-friendly options opens the door for all families to have new experiences together, at DCT.



Next Sensory-Friendly Performance Day Schedule

3:30 – 4:30pm Optional pre-show activities including facepainting, clown performances and other activities Participate at whatever level is best for your family
4:00pm Doors to the theater are opened
4:30pm Show begins
(There will be NO intermission for this production.)

Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts’

March 12, 2016 at 4:30 PM – You don’t always need a prince and princess for your heroes to live happily ever after. Two children in search of food for their hungry family get lost in an enchanted forest. They must depend on all their powers of imagination to save them from the crafty, mysterious old woman in the candy house and (in this less “grim” version) lead them back to the loving arms of their parents. The familiar, melodic music of Engelbert Humperdinck brings an inventive theatricality to the retelling of this beloved fairy tale adventure. HANSEL AND GRETEL brings another feast for the eyes and ears to the stage from Kathy Burks’ Master Puppeteers.

Recommended for ages 4 and up

To Purchase Tickets

DCT wants to make sure families have no barriers that would prevent them from at least sampling these great opportunities created especially for them! Tickets are $5 per person. Regular DCT show prices range from $13 to $28.  Additionally scholarships are available if needed thanks to a grant from The Crystal Charity Ball.  Please inquire when you call in to reserve your tickets.

To purchase tickets or get more information, please call 214-740-0051.

To read more about our sensory program, go to dct.org/sensory

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