Historic Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater expands shows to accommodate special needs audiences

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After more than six decades of putting smiles on families’ faces through the arts, Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater & Academy is expanding its audience to those facing special needs.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the theater is introducing new sensory-friendly performances as part of its 62nd season of mainstage productions this fall.

This is an effort that the theater has been working on for quite some time, but Artistic Director Stephen Tyler Davis was able to use his personal experience to help get the job done.

“At the school that I use to teach, it was actually a student who came to me and said, “I have these access needs, these are the things that I need to enjoy theater,” and I was taught by someone,” Davis said. “And I was able to take that experience and bring it with me to Fantasy.”

In partnership with Tourism ALL-a-Bama and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Huntsville South, the organization is able to supply all accommodations needed throughout the season.

Visual and sound effects will be lowered, fidget toys, and other sensory assistance tools will be distributed, and house lights will stay dimly lit to accommodate accessibility access. It’s one of the first initiatives of its kind to take place in Alabama.

With the use of sensory kits with accessories like shades, headphones, and non-verbal communicators, any child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can still enjoy a play.

“The arts are so impactful to people,” Davis told News 19. “Making the arts accessible to all different groups of people, it just makes the world a better place. And so if we can have a part in that in community building for Huntsville, we want to be on the front line of that.”

Three sensory-friendly performances will be taking center stage this season:

  • “Charlotte’s Web” | Based on the book by EB White | Adapted by Joseph Robinette
    • Saturday, October 15, 2022 @ 10 am
  • “A Christmas Carol” | Based on the book by Charles Dickens Adapted by Barbara Fields
    • Thursday, December 8, 2022 @ 5 pm
  • “Snow White and the 7 Littles” | Original script by Stephen Tyler Davis
    • Saturday, February 18, 2023 @ 10 am

For more information about shows, ticket prices and details, visit https://www.fantasyplayhouse.org/.

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