Living Life On The Spectrum: Navigating Sensory Friendly Plays

The Birmigham Children’s Theater started doing sensory friendly shows this year. I was so freaking excited when I learned this. I was already thinking about reaching out to them to do a review and I just happened to meet part of their marketing team at Everett’s school. She invited us to come to their first sensory play and we gladly accepted.
So lo and behold here is our review of Rumplestiltskin!

Rumplestiltskin, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a classic fairytale about a girl who is falsely accredited with the ability to turn straw into gold. When she gets locked into the kings tower and forced to prove her golden abilities, she is forced to partner with a goblin like creature with the ability to spin straw into gold. She gives him her possessions, and eventually promises her first born son in exchange. When the son is born and he comes to collect, she makes yet another bargain with him. This time she must guess his name within 3 tries or the child is forfeit. Of course with the help of the kingdom she ends up succeeding and all is well.
Birmingham Children’s Theater partnered with the Autism Society of Alabama to help them prepare for the show.

As per their website:

These performances are designed to provide an arts experience that is engaging, enjoyable, and accessible for all of our audiences.

Accommodations for these performances include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds;

  • Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance;

  • A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience;

  • Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance;

  • Designated quiet areas within the theater;

  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement;

  • Families will also have access to resource materials to prepare for their visit.

They also offered ear plugs “just in case,” which I felt was a very nice touch.
Our day was already going to be pretty crazy, seeing as the boys already had their birthday party planned for that morning, so I wasn’t able to do much to prep him other than grab him a couple snacks.
When we got there, we ended up going to the wrong location and therefore we didn’t get there as early as I had hoped. Fortunately, due to a last minute cast issue, we had a few minutes to settle in. A few of Everett’s friends joined us for the play which was also pretty awesome.
Birmigham Children's Theater
The first thing I noticed was just how intimate the theatre was. The stage was mere inches from where the kids were sitting and to top it off the cast frequently came out into various parts of the audience.
Birmigham Children's Theater 1
Birmigham Children's Theater 1
Birmigham Children's Theater 2
They had some fun kid friendly plot variations and the actors were very engaging. Everett was enthralled. We didn’t need the ear plugs, headphones, or any breaks. It was the perfect amount of time to keep his attention. The seating was stadium style rows, so it gave the kiddos plenty of room to wiggle (and even turn upside down at one point!).
Birmigham Children's Theater 3
Birmigham Children's Theater 4
As an added bonus, we got to meet the cast at the end and take photos! Everyone was amazingly friendly and accommodating. They truly did a fantastic job pulling everything together and taking everyone’s needs into consideration. I can’t wait to take him to his next play!
Birmigham Children's Theater 5

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