Subdued Sights & Sounds: New Albany Symphony Presents Sensory-Friendly Performance

Mar 7, 2017

The New Albany Symphony Orchestra presents Casey at the Bat and concert favorites in a 45-minute sensory-friendly performance, perfect for anyone wanting a more relaxed concert environment. Young families, persons on the autism spectrum and those with dementia or Alzheimer's will find a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Arrive early, dressed in your favorite team jersey, for hands-on activities, Cracker Jacks, an instrument petting zoo and communication cards in the lobby. The show starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at the McCoy Center for the Arts, located in New Albany.

Even I'm not old enough to remember the days when plays, opera and ballets were performed for audiences who were eating, drinking, consorting and frolicking. Richard Wagner was the first artist to insist on performing in a darkened auditorium, and that was in 1880.

Over the past few years, performing arts organizations have been presenting sensory-friendly performances. This is an awkward name for a show with, perhaps, lower lighting levels, less volume and fewer restrictions on the audience in a not-quite darkened theater. Audience members are free to sing along, move around or take a break in the lobby. The goal is for the audience to be comfortable, and to enjoy what is on stage.

No audience member should be turned away because the show is too bright, too loud or too long. These performances are about accessibility and the comfort of the public. 

Locally, Columbus Children's Theater, COSI and AMC Lennox Town Center and Crosswoods movie theaters have joined the New Albany Symphony in offering sensory-friendly shows. It's a good bet that a phone call or two to any presenting organization will encourage them to explore this option.

Meanwhile, I hope to see you at the show March 11. Anybody have a spare XXL Red Sox jersey?