Midland Center for the Arts to debut upcoming sensory-friendly performance

A movement has been sweeping across the country as a variety of organizations work to provide a more inclusive experience, one that gives the sensory sensitive among us the opportunity to more comfortably attend exhibits, performances, and more.

That movement has recently arrived to the Great Lakes Bay region and it further establishes itself on Saturday, May 11. The Midland Center for the Arts is currently preparing a sensory-friendly performance of its Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat stage show.

The goal is to provide a welcoming, judgement-free zone for those with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, sensory processing disorder, and other sensory sensitivities. It could beneficial to veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as well.

"It’s important to us that we’re providing a supportive and welcoming environment to all people," says Katie Miller, manager of community engagement at the Midland Center for the Arts.

"This is part of a national movement so the sensory sensitive has the same access to the arts. The performance arts can be especially challenging for some and these are simple alterations."

While the core of the performance remains, strobe lighting, fog machines, and unexpected loud noises will be eliminated from the show. Lighting in the theater will be turned up 30 to 50 percent. Patrons are encouraged to bring items that make them feel more comfortable, and even to walk around.

The Center will be providing a "Take-a-Brake Space," too.

This particular performance will serve as the pilot program for future sensory-friendly performances at the MCFTA. The Center began offering sensory-friendly days at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art in the fall of 2018.

"We already have plans for future seasons but let’s gather feedback here first," Miller says.

"We’re looking at a long-term strategic plan for accessibility and inclusion at all of our facilities. This is the first step in a long-term objective."

Visit the Midland Center for the Arts online for tickets, preparation materials for the show, and more.

More traditional performances of Joseph will be held throughout May and a full listing of dates can be found here.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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