Near West Receives $3000 Grant from GPD

Posted April 05, 2017 in Press Releases

Near West Receives $3000 Grant from GPD

For the second year in a row we received a $3,000 grant from The GPD Employees' Foundation for Capacity Building for Disability Services to enhance our audience members’ experience of live theatre.

This funding will go towards our now Annual Sensory Performance which provides a sensory-friendly performance for young audience members on the autism spectrum and those with other sensitivities. A Sensory Performance is a show geared towards those on the Autism Spectrum. Sensory Performances are performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of people on the spectrum as well as their families and friends, people with other sensitivity issues, or other disabilities.

We hosted our first Sensory Performance this season during our production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was a powerful experience being able to share this production with the community and being able to open our doors to people of all abilities. This sensory performance had an impact organization-wide. While the audience was small (50 attendees), the enthusiasm of the 75 person cast and crew, volunteers, production team, audience members, and the network of area service providers who worked diligently with us, was inspirational. We received positive feedback from a number of audience and cast through surveys:

"Performing in the sensory show was a great experience that had added meaning for myself and my family. Having a child with special needs for 16 years now we have seen firsthand how challenging it can be for families to not only provide their special needs children with the experiences they want them to have, but also to find activities for the entire family to enjoy..."- adult cast member/parent

"...I love theater, but as someone with epilepsy, I cannot always attend a show...Attending the sensory-friendly performance was a liberating experience for me, since it meant I could sit through the entire show without any risk. But most importantly, it meant that the theater became accessible to an entire population of people (and their families) who can't normally have experiences like this..."- audience member

We’re looking forward to hosting future Sensory Performances with the help of GPD and other community partners who make our disability services possible.

**Our next Sensory Friendly Performance will be on Thursday December 7th at 7:30 during our run of Beauty and the Beast!**

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