I fell in love with the arts as a young girl. Since then, I’ve always been amazed with music, dance and theater. Now that I’m all grown up, I’ve never considered the possibility of integrating both my career and my hobbies into one. While Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) focuses most of its energies on entertaining those who were born after 2000, this 21-year-old loves how being in this creative, inspirational space makes my inner child feel.
I couldn’t help but smile as kids waited with excitement to see the sensory-friendly performance of RAPUNZEL! RAPUNZEL! A VERY HAIRY FAIRY TALE. Here at DCT, we take pleasure in providing a comfortable environment for all children. With accommodations like leaving the house lights up a few levels higher and reducing the sound level, our sensory-friendly shows allow families and children with special sensory needs to enjoy these wonderful stories that are so vividly brought to life on stage.
Children enjoyed some fun pre-show activities, including face painting and live clown performances in the lobby. Slappy and Monday were two of the most energetic clowns I’ve seen. For a moment, I had to remember that I was an employee.
Attendee Laura Neri said of the show “I wish all children’s theater was like this. My kids have a hard time sitting still, so it’s nice that they [DCT] don’t expect them to do so.”
At Dallas Children’s Theater, we are very committed to helping all children enjoy the benefits of live theater. I was pleased when I heard that because of funders like the Michael Young Family Foundation and Communities Foundation of North Texas and a recent Dream Ball fundraiser, three more sensory shows are scheduled for next year! The audience seemed very pleased to hear the news as well, which warmed my heart even more.
I had never attended a sensory show before this one, and I had no clue what to expect. But after experiencing that day and witnessing everyone’s joy, I suddenly remembered why I enjoy the arts so much. Seeing all the families share smiles and cheers with each other made me feel at home. Theater has always had that effect on me, like that warm, toasty feeling you have when you wake up on a winter holiday morning, or the thrill you get when your mom finally takes the turkey out of the oven. With the holiday season upon us, I keep thinking about how precious the time we spend with family is. It is awesome to see how DCT helps create great moments for all of these special families.
Going to a sensory-friendly show is actually something all families might consider. What a great way for young children to appreciate the rainbow of families out there! I know DCT would welcome you, too. Visit www.dct.org/sensory to see our lineup of sensory-friendly shows for next year. And of course, if you know of any families that would specifically benefit from these unique opportunities, please don’t hesitate to share this information. You never know what these family moments could mean to them.
By the way, DCT staff members recently sent out the information below. The stats reflect the sentiment DCT has gotten from families who came to one of our first three sensory shows. I’m proud of these results, and I thought they were worth sharing in this post. Great work, DCT!
|MEASUREMENTS FOR RAPUNZEL||GOAL||PILOT RESULTS|
|Verbal children will say they liked the experience / want to return to see another show.||80%||95%|
|Non-verbal children will be visibly at ease and/or engaged during the performance.||75%||93%|
|Parents will say their child with sensory sensitivities enjoyed the show.||80%||100%|
|Parents will say they believe their children were comfortable during the performance.||75%||95%|
|Parents will say they believe their children grew or learned through the experience.||85%||88%|
|Parents will say their children had a positive interaction with a person they didn’t know.||85%||90%|
|Parents will say they would like to come to another sensory-friendly performance.||80%||98%|
Written by: Tammie Riley, Community Engagement Coordinator
Edited by: Sandra Session-Robertson
Hometown: Houston, TX
Studies: Public Relations, minor in Spanish and certificate in Technical Communication