Arts Center

Sensory Friendly

What to Expect

Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all families with children with autism or other sensory sensitivities.

The Arts Center works with the touring artist to create a sensory-friendly environment. We also welcome students from the Schools of Education and Health and Human Services to assist our ushers in accommodating the needs of our patrons.


  • Quiet lobby activities like coloring stations
  • Fidget toys that can be brought into the theater
  • Access to a private, relaxed space away from the lobby 

During show

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance; no strobe or flashing lights are used
  • Limited seats filled to allow for flexibility
  • Space throughout the theater to allow for movement
  • Opportunity to leave at anytime and access quiet room or return to lobby

Post show

  • Announcements about any post-show activities (such as a meet and greet with actors in costume) are made. Patrons who do not wish to participate are given the opportunity to exit the building before any activities take place.

Before the show

Help prepare your child by reading this social story together (pdf).

What patrons are saying

"This show exceeded my expectations. My son is on the autism spectrum and he was able to enjoy the show thanks to the sensory tools available at the door and the lack of bright lights and loud noises. I can’t thank you enough for helping my entire family to enjoy this fabulous show."

"We brought our granddaughters (almost two and four) and they did fine.  Coloring opportunity before hand was appreciated. Partially full theater also good with the toddler as we were not sure if she'd sit the full hour. She got squirmy and was able to stand in front of seat without being a distraction. Thank you!"

"So accommodating, amazing, loved everything about it."

"As a former elementary teacher, I thought the small accommodations you made were wonderful. The coloring pages beforehand, squeeze balls, dimmed lighting, moderate sound and freedom to move around were very appropriate. I also appreciated you letting us know before the show how the performance would be ever so slightly altered."

Additional resources

Read CITY Newspaper's story on sensory-friendly performances in Rochester.


Upcoming Sensory-Friendly Performances

Magic School Bus

TheaterWorks USA presents The Magic School Bus "Lost in the Solar System"
Saturday, May 2, 2020, 4 p.m.

An eccentric science teacher takes her class on a journey to space, based on the award-winning book series and television show. Ages 4+.

Sensory friendly at Nazareth

    Who does sensory-friendly theatre serve?