The Children's Theatre has fabulous productions for all ages, and even sensory-friendly productions, too! Our mom reporters checked out both.
As a former special education teacher from Michigan, I love seeing companies add sensory-friendly opportunities to their line-up. It creates an amazing opportunity for families who may be hesitant to venture out to shows or businesses with their children who are differently abled. It provides many families with the opportunity to create lasting memories with their children.
Recently, I had the pleasure to attend The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Sensory-Friendly performance of The Jungle Book KIDS. Typically, when we attend shows, the Taft is sold out. There is usually a crowd of people in the waiting area prior to walking into the theatre which can be overwhelming for people with special needs. During the sensory-friendly performance, there was no line to get in, no crowd in the waiting area and the theater was not packed. There were plenty of seats for families to move around if they felt like they needed more space. There were also plenty of staff standing near the exits ready to provide support, if needed.
When the show started, the lights were dimmed, but there was still plenty of light available to be able to see your program as well as any snacks, lovies, or sensory tools, you may need to access for your child during the show. In the past, shows we attended had an intermission which we typically use to visit the rest room, but for this particular show, there was no intermission; so from start to finish, the show was approximately 1 hour long.
The quality of the show (if you have never been to a TCT show, they are phenomenal) was not “lost” being a sensory-friendly show. As usual, the stage set was highly detailed and beautiful. The choreography and singing were fantastic and the details (look at the bird’s costumes closely for the tassels) in the costumes were obviously given a lot of thought. We left with stuffed panthers, thanks to the kids Crown Club and my kids now want their very own magical copy of The Jungle Book.
If you are concerned about taking your child to a TCT show, give the sensory-friendly shows a shot! It gives your family a relaxed environment, opportunity to move and talk if needed, and the chance to create memories.
By: Tina Pratt, behavioral specialist, freelance writer and mom of two
TCT The Jungle Book KIDS Non-Sensory Performance
Attending the Jungle Book at The Children’s Theater was an all-around positive experience. This was the first time my kids had been to the theatre, and I was not sure how it would go – but they did great! Upon entering the Taft Theatre, they were wowed by the grand entrance and staircase as we walked in. Once inside the theatre, they looked around and took it all in.
My 4 year old was able to follow and understand the storyline as TCT adapted The Jungle Book to keep the attention of little people. Her take away was that Mowgli was in danger because Shere Khan did not like people. Along the way he met his different friends who protected him. In the end, he decided to go to the man village.
On the other hand, my 3 year old did not completely comprehend the whole play, but was wowed by the upbeat music, bright costumes and fun songs. He loved seeing the animals; there were snakes, elephants, monkeys, bears and vultures that all caught his attention. The choreography was brilliant, and the costumes were amazing as they moved along with the actors to make them seem like real animals! Personally, I loved the elephant stampede and my daughter adored the monkeys- she liked his big belly! The kids also loved singing the Bare Necessities; they even put the lyrics up on the screen so it was very audience friendly.
This 60 minute performance of The Jungle Book was fantastic and received five stars for performance and family friendliness from me! Although the director reminded the audience about etiquette, there was still wiggle room for kids to be kids as my son asked why a few times. We even brought the baby for a small lap fee. To learn more about upcoming performances, show times and summer camps, visit thechildrenstheatre.com/.
By: Susie Dyson, freelance writer and mom of three.