Saturday, August 8, 2020
Company of Fools Expands Outreach to Those with Sensory Disorders
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Cassandra Bizzell stars as Elizabeth, or Lizzy, and Neil Brookshire as Darcy in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” which opens Dec. 9 at the Liberty Theatre.
   
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY KIRSTEN SHULTZ

Company of Fools, which introduced a “Parent & Baby” performance during its fall run of “Cry It Out,” will introduced its first-ever “Sensory-Friendly” performance during its first performance of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9.

The performance at Hailey’s Liberty Theatre is consisted an invited dress rehearsal. It’s free, although donations in support of the theatre will be gratefully accepted.

The evening will feature a unique setting that will be more conducive to audience members with autism spectrum disorders or other sensory disorders.

Among the changes; reducing harsh sound effects, dimming the lights, removing strobe lighting and relaxing theater rules to allow patrons to talk or leave the theatre during the performance. Performances will take place with the house lights up and no blackouts between scenes.  And the Fools will create designated quiet safe spaces in the lobby with plush toys and mats for audience member who become overstimulated.

There also will be character guides and social narrative documents for family members and caregivers to use before attending the performance.

Company of Fools is the first theater in Idaho to join the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism-Friendly Theatre network. And it’s something the Fools do not take lightly.

“One theater company back east didn’t follow some of the protocol, and it ended badly for some of the audience members,” said Palmer. “During the past few months the Fools have been focused on making sure everyone in the valley has a chance to enjoy our work at the liberty. We installed a new assisted listening system for our hearing-impaired patrons and we’ve started a new Parent & Baby performance.

“With Theatre Development Fund’s help, we hope to become known as an inviting, safe and friendly space for patrons with autism spectrum disorders or sensitivity issues to enjoy performing arts.’

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to contact Company Manager Kris Olenick at kolenick@sunvalleycenter.org to confirm their seats.

The Parent & Baby performance for “Miss Bennet” will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28.


 

 

 

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