Adelphi presents theater experience for people on Autism Spectrum

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Peter and the Starcatcher

Live theater has made great strides in accessibility for people who are visual or hearing impaired and for those with mobility issues, but designing and presenting productions for audiences with differing cognitive abilities is attempted far less frequently.

Adelphi University Department of Theatre in partnership with the New York City nonprofit Autism Friendly Spaces, is proud to bring the Tony Award-winning Peter and the Starcatcher, a play by Rick Elice, to people on the autism spectrum in a safe space that is non-judgmental and supportive.

On Nov. 12, the Adelphi University Department of Theatre will present one of the first-ever autism-friendly performances of a college production in the Olmsted Theatre. Adelphi’s Performing Arts Center will be transformed into a place where people on the autism spectrum are welcomed and can be comfortable. House lights will be dimmed but kept on during the show.

Fidget toys will be available to keep hands busy. Trained chaperones will be on hand to address individual needs.

Two additional rooms will be set up to meet individual needs. One will have toys and activities related to the show and a live feed from the stage for audience members who become restless. A separate quiet room will allow space for those who need a little decompression time.

The autism-friendly performance represents a major collaboration between the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, Adelphi’s departments of Theatre and Sociology, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Health Innovation, the Bridges to Adelphi Program and the Office of Accessibility. That team, working with consultants from Autism Friendly Spaces, hopes to present a model for other colleges and universities.

Peter and the Starcatcher was adapted for the stage by directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. It’s based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s novel that reimagines the Peter Pan story to expose the pitfalls of greed and the bonds of friendship. The Adelphi production will feature Adelphi theatre students directed by alumna Jamianne Devlin with music by Wayne Barker.

The autism-friendly production will be staged at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 after the regular run of the show from Nov. 7 to 11. All of the shows are open to all members of the public.

The Adelphi PAC is one of Long Island’s premier cultural arts venues for entertainment of all kinds. Tickets are currently on sale for $25 with discounts available to seniors, students and alumni. Information is available at the Lucia and Steven N. Fischer Box Office at 516-877-4000 or boxoffice@adelphi.edu.

Regular box office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. The box office is also open two hours before most scheduled performances.

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