Autism Speaks and Olympia Entertainment Inc. have announced the Fox Theatre will present the first ever autism-friendly Sesame Street Live performance on Friday, February 8, at 7 p.m., with accommodations to make the theater experience more enjoyable for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other sensory difficulties.
Tickets ($35, $22, $17 and $9) are on sale now. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of select tickets ($9 to $22 range) will be donated to Autism Speaks and can be purchased by calling the Olympia Entertainment, Inc. Group Sales department at 313.471.3099. Tickets are available to all members of the public and purchasers should specify they are interested in the Autism-friendly performance.
Working in conjunction with VEE Corporation (the producers of Sesame Street Live) and Autism Speaks, Olympia Entertainment has pledged to create a fun, inviting environment for families with members who have ASD while providing the opportunity to experience a live performance of Sesame Street Live "Elmo Makes Music" in its entirety.
Representatives from Autism Speaks previewed this production to assure that theatrical elements are appropriate for all audiences, especially those living with ASD. "Emotional well-being, health and wellness are at the heart of Sesame Street's mission. We're so pleased that our live stage productions are universally inclusive," said Dayna Deutsch, VEE's Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
The presentation will not differ from the theater's regular performance. However, the theater is providing production notes to parents ahead of time, to prepare their children for what to expect, should anything be a potential trigger. Quiet areas will be set up inside the venue to allow families to take a break for a few minutes and extra spacing will be incorporated in some seating areas to allow for room to move around. Gluten-free concession food options will also be made available.
"It's our privilege to be able to host the first event of this kind at the Fox Theatre," said Tom Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Olympia Entertainment. "It is paramount for Olympia Entertainment to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment in order to create positive and extraordinary memories for all."
The partnership between Autism Speaks and Olympia Entertainment, Inc. was created as part of the Michigan is Listening initiative, a statewide awareness program that asks the people of Michigan to pledge to tell 10 people about autism. As part of this campaign destinations around the state who make a commitment to creating a welcoming experience for those with autism receive a designation as a Michigan is Listening Destination.
"We are excited to partner with Olympia Entertainment and VEE Corporation for this first of its kind event," said Tom Riopelle, Midwest Regional Director, Autism Speaks. "Providing a place where families can feel comfortable in a public setting while experiencing such an iconic, educational performance is a wonderful opportunity. We look forward to this being the first of many live productions of this nature."
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs.
Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council has received over $272 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 32 states thus far, including Michigan, which takes effect this month, and with bills pending in an additional 10 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org.