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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

Frequently Asked Questions About Sensory-Friendly Performances


Q. What is a sensory-friendly performance?

A. A "sensory-friendly" performance is a theatre production that caters to individuals with sensory needs such as people on the autism spectrum, or with anxiety or other cognitive and physical disabilities. The show is modified to allow for more audience movement, staff and actors are trained to accommodate the needs of this population and it is a judgment-free zone!

Q. When and where are these performances taking place?

A. The sensory-friendly performances take place at the Historic Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church Street, in downtown Charleston.

Performance Dates/Times For the 2016-17 Sensory-Friendly Performances:
Junie B. In Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!
, Dec. 16 at 11am
The Giver, Jan. 20 at 11am
BILLY, GOAT, GRUFF The Musical, Apr. 28 at 11am

Q. How can I get tickets?

A. Tickets for the sensory-friendly performances go on sale September 25. Ticket sales will be available online by clicking on each specific sensory-friendly performance listed on each show calendar. Click on the show names above to access each show calendar. You may also purchase tickes in person at the box office or by phone at (843) 577-7183 during box office hours (Monday – Friday from 1pm-5pm). Sensory-friendly 3 Play Family Series Packages are also available for sale by clicking here.

Q. Who should attend this performance?

A. The sensory-friendly performance is designed for children and adults with sensory input disorders, autism, or other developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities and their families and caretakers. If an individual has been unable to attend live theatre or movies because of their special needs, this is perfect for them. We promise a judgment-free, fun experience for the entire family. Whereas other public performances might frown upon a lot of movement or loud reactions, we will embrace and prepare for it! An adult must accompany all children. We encourage caretakers and family members of people with special needs to attend.

Q. Can people without autism or cognitive and physical disabilities attend this performance?

A. This performance is designed for people with sensory-input challenges and their families. Not only will the production be slightly changed to fit their needs, but also the environment of the audience will be quite different. The lights in the audience will be raised slightly, allowing for more movement. We expect that many individuals with autism and developmental disabilities will be vocal during the performance. Charleston Stage patrons without autism or cognitive and physical disabilities may want to attend an alternate performance in order to leave room for this special population and their families to enjoy a comfortable, judgment-free experience.

Q. What changes will you be making to the production and script?

A. The script will not be changing, but some of the technical elements will be softened to accommodate sensitive ears and eyes. Lights in the audience will be up for the entire show to allow safe movement in and out of the theatre. Any theatrical special effects will be removed or altered. Abrupt and loud sound effects will be set at comfortable levels. House management and production staff will be trained to accommodate the special needs of the population.

Q. My family member/client with autism has difficulty with transitions. How can I prep them for this new experience?

A. Please refer to the pre-visit information on this page. We encourage families and caretakers to read these to prepare for the whole experience, from beginning to end. Also, the Dock Street Theatre is open to the public Monday – Friday from 10am-5pm. We welcome you to visit the theatre during these times to familiarize yourself with the environment.

Q. Can I bring edibles, fidget toys, headphones or other items that help my child/family member stay calm?

A. Of course! We encourage you to bring any items that might make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Q. My family member/client is in a wheelchair. Can you accommodate us?

A. Yes, Charleston Stage has wheelchair accessible seating. Please inform the box office of any mobility issues when purchasing tickets.

Q. Are service animals allowed in the theater?

A. Yes, we always allow service animals to accompany patrons.

Q. My family member/client is deaf or hard-of-hearing. Will there be ASL interpreters at this performance?

A. Unfortunately, this performance will not have an ASL interpreter, but we welcome the opportunity to serve you better. So, if there is a need and request for one, we will certainly consider it.

Q. If my family member/client is not able to sit through the entire show, will we be able to leave the theatre? If they decide to, will we be able to return to our seat?

A. Yes, ushers and staff will be helping any patron to the lobby area. If the patron decides they cannot remain for the whole the show, they can absolutely leave the theatre early. If they simply need a break, our lobby will be available as well as a quiet space in the second floor Drawing Room. Whenever possible, house management will guide patrons back to their original seats. If not, they can be reseated in the back of the theatre.
Q. Who can I contact about the sensory-friendly performance?

A. Feel free to contact Brian Porter, Director of Administration, with questions! Call (843) 577-5967 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..








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