The Mad Hatterpillar and Her Many Heads

A World Premiere Puppet Musical
Written & Directed by Rachel Frawley
Music by Sarah Beth Hester
Sensory-friendly performance
Feb 11 at 2:30pm
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A Sensory Friendly performance in the theater is designed to be inclusive for individuals with sensory needs, such as those on the autism spectrum, as well as newcomers to the theater and young children. The production is adapted to accommodate patron movement and both staff and actors undergo training to cater to the specific needs of the audience. This creates a welcoming and non-judgmental environment where all patrons can enjoy the theatrical experience.

All Sensory Friendly Performances include:
  • Mid-level audience lighting that is consistent through the show.
  • Overall reduced sound, with disposable earplugs at Box Office.
  • Modified aspects of the production, like changes to lighting, sounds, and performance elements (e.g., eliminating strobe effects, reducing sound intensity, adjusting actor-audience interaction).
  • Access to the Take-a-Break Space, equipped with fidgets, weighted blankets, and other sensory supports.
  • Implementation of a light cue system to signal upcoming shifts in sensory input, such as lighting changes or sound cues, preventing surprises.
  • Decreased housing capacity and increased access to floor accessible seating for space between parties.
  • A tactile introduction in the lobby to some of the props or pieces used.
  • Additional support from trained Stage Door staff.
  • A social story to get prepared!

A Social Story is a written story that shows information about a social situation to convey behavioral expectations and prepare for a new environment. It is a common tool for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, created to structure social skills, improve appropriate behavior, and increase engagement.

See Stage Door’s Social Story (Adobe Acrobat PDF reader required)

Who should attend Sensory Friendly Performances?

A sensory-friendly performance is a live theater show made for people who might find regular performances challenging due to sensory sensitivities. This includes those with conditions like autism spectrum disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder, and their families and caretakers. We have made alterations to the traditional environment to facilitate a judgement-free and fun experience for everyone. Movement and vocal reactions are anticipated and welcome.

Can people without sensory sensitivities attend?

Absolutely! People without heightened sensory needs are more than welcome to attend.  These shows are also a great option for families bringing young children or those who are new to the theater. Stage Door encourages all patrons to get acquainted with the adjustments and expectations of the Sensory Friendly performance to contribute to a welcoming and accommodating environment for everyone in the audience.

I/My child/​family member/​client has difficulty with transitions. Is there anything I can do to prep them for this new experience?

Yes! Please take a look at our social story (LINK), or email [email protected] to come visit the theatre and see the set before the show (must be booked 2 weeks prior to performance).

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

Of course!

My party has a person who uses a wheelchair. Can you accommodate us?
Yes. Stage Door is fully wheelchair accessible with an automatic door from the sidewalk located  under the awning (opposite the library). The lobby and entrance to the theater are all at sidewalk level.
If I/my child/​family member/​client is not able to sit through the entire show, will we be able to leave the theater? If they decide to, will we be able to return to our seat?

Certainly! Ushers and staff will be there to assist patrons, guiding them to the lobby. If your child, family member, or client feels they can’t complete the show, you can leave early. In case they just need a break, the lobby has quiet areas. When ready to return, an usher will help you get back to your original seats if possible. Otherwise, you can be seated in the back.

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