DPAC Offers Autism-Friendly Performance of 'Elf: The Musical'
UNC Health Care also donates more than 2,000 sensory-friendly kits to DPAC to use during the special performance
Photo courtesy of Durham Performing Arts Center
Events with loud noises, bright lights and unfamiliar surroundings — typical of many holiday celebrations — can make it difficult for some individuals, particularly those on the autism spectrum, to enjoy. The staff at the Durham Performing Arts Center and UNC Health Care understand that and have joined forces to host an Autism-friendly performance of Elf: The Musical on Saturday, Dec. 8.
This special performance is designed for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as anyone who might benefit from a more relaxed environment, to enjoy the excitement of live theater in a welcoming, supportive environment. Slight adjustments to lighting and sound will be made for this performance, and the lobbies will be staffed with specialists and volunteers to assist with any needs that arise during the show. This performance is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce young children to live performances.
In addition, UNC Health Care has donated more than 2,000 sensory friendly kits to DPAC to use during the autism-friendly performance of “Elf: The Musical” on Dec. 8 for audience members of all ages with sensory needs. The kits will available as guests walk into the entrance of the theater. Volunteers and staff will be around if guests happen to miss the kits at the front door. The kits include a stress ball, fidget spinner and bendy stick.
Bonus: If DPAC doesn’t hand out all the kits during that show, they will keep them on hand for future guests at other shows. DPAC also will provide activity and quiet areas for anyone who becomes restless during the show. Those areas are designed for audience members who become too overwhelmed with lights and/or noises, and who need a break. Volunteers from the UNC Autism Research Center in Chapel Hill will also be on hand to help guests and provide more information.
The sensory-friendly kits include a stress ball, fidget spinner, and bendy stick for audience members of all ages with sensory needs to use during the autism-friendly performance of “Elf: The Musical” on Dec. 8.
Photo courtesy of UNC Health Care/UNC REX Healthcare
“We want to offer some respite for those people, their family members and caregivers. This is a terrific holiday show that everyone should be allowed to enjoy,” says Allison Zoller, program manager of the UNC Autism Research Center.
For more information on the autism-friendly performance of “ELF The Musical” at DPAC on Dec. 8, including preshow resources, click here. You'll find a video guide to autism-friendly events at DPAC, a downloadable synopsis of the show with pictures of the cast of the Elf movie verses the "ELF the Musical" cast, and a downloadable social narrative with pictures of the theatre and the production, all of which are designed to help individuals prepare for the show.
The show is recommended for all audiences including kids, couples, parents and grandparents. For this autism-friendly performance, DPAC recommends (but does not require) that children be at least 4 years old to attend. Please note that all guests must have a ticket regardless of age. Tickets start at $28.50 plus taxes and ticket fees.