Sensory-Friendly Performance at Playhouse Square – January 2015

Sensory-Friendly Programming at Playhouse Square

Playhouse Square is proud to commit to arts education, providing a variety of free and low-cost programs dedicated to inspiring and invigorating people of all ages, perspectives and abilities. Our sensory-friendly initiative is dedicated to increasing access and inclusion for children and families impacted by autism spectrum disorders and other sensory, social and cognitive challenges or issues. Some of our resident companies also present sensory-friendly programming.

About Sensory-Friendly Programming

Why might a trip to the theater be difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum or with other sensory challenges?

Whether especially sensitive to lights, smells or sounds, or constantly seeking opportunities to increase sensory information by touching objects, stomping feet or clapping hands, for those affected, a traditional theater experience can be overwhelming. 

What makes a performance sensory-friendly?

  • Lower sound levels, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • Guests are free to talk, leave their seats and move freely during the performance
  • House lights in the theater are left on low throughout the performance
  • Designated calming areas staffed by volunteer specialists are available
  • All are welcome in a judgment-free environment

Sensory-Friendly Program Tools

Headed to an upcoming sensory-friendly program? Here are a few tools to help plan your visit.

Plan Your Visit

Want to learn a little bit about the Playhouse Square area? Learn more about our neighborhood (the restaurants, the theaters, maps and more) in the Plan Your Visit section of our website.

Parking and Drop Off Information

Parking and drop-off accomodations vary from program to program. Each program will have specific information as to what accomodations are available. For general information about parking at Playhouse Square, visit the Directions and Parking page on our website.

Social Story- Visiting Playhouse Square

Social stories can be used to help individuals on the autism spectrum prepare for a social interaction or situation.

Accessibility Information

Wheelchair accomodations vary from program to program. Each program will have specific information as to what accomodations (and how to arrange for them) are available. For general information about Playhouse Square accessibility services, please visit the Accessibility Information page on our website.

Upcoming Sensory-Friendly Events:


Past Sensory-Friendly Performances:

  • April 15, 2018 - Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook (Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia)
  • March 6, 2018 - The Gruffalo (Tall Stories)
  • January 29, 2017 - Brown Bear, Brown Bear & Other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle (Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia)
  • October 25, 2016 - Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Dallas Children's Theater)
  • May 8, 2016 - Carnival of the Animals (Circa)
  • October 27, 2015 - Air Play (Acrobuffos)
  • January 13, 2015 - Havana Hop (Paige Hernandez)


"The World Through My Eyes" 

As part of the 6th annual International Children's Theater Festival presented by University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, children on the autism spectrum created original artwork on the theme of "The World Through My Eyes." The artwork received professional gallery treatment and was displayed at the Galleries at CSU. 

Arboreality (The Nest)
During our 2014 International Children’s Theater Festival, guests of all ages and abilities were invited to experience “The Nest,” a forest canopy filled with light, texture and wonder. “Arboreality: The Nest” was created by Cleveland artist Ian Petroni and Theater Ninjas, in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism Outreach.