Autism-Friendly Performances: The Grinch at the Old Globe
San Diego has a yearly Yule Tide tradition at Balboa Park's Old Globe Theater: The live production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It's often sold out months in advance, and many families enjoy this regular holiday treat. Due to the nature of live productions, families who have children on the spectrum often give it a miss. It's often loud, dark, and people are expected to sit still and quietly during the performance.
However, this year, The Old Globe has an autism-friendly performance on Saturday, Dec. 15th. Tickets are almost completely sold out; if you would like to get in, now is the time.
Monday, the 10th, the Old Globe had a "meet your seat" event for families, so they can see the theater, have their children see their seats, get acclimated to the environment, and know where they can go should they need to leave. Of course, we attended, and it was great.
We were met by the director of education at the Old Globe, who walked us through the whole theater. The outside looks much like the old globe theater it was loosely patterned after, but inside it was very much a modern theater. We got to see how the stage would look with props, colors for the seats, and had the changes in the performance explained to us.
We then went upstairs to see where a quiet corner will be set up for those who need to recover from overstimulation, and downstairs to the rest rooms. We were even fortunate to see a dressing room wide open under the stage, with some of the costumes from the Shakespeare performances for which the Old Globe is famous. It was a real treat, a neat experience, and made me excited to go to the theater again.
This sort of thing has started to become more and more popular over the years since Disney put on an autism-friendly version of the Lion King on Broadway. More theaters are opening their productions to children and families with autism. Speaking as a former amateur actor, the ability to adjust and adapt a performance for children with autism can be taxing. But the rewards of such a performance can help one grow as a performer.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to the performance on the 15th. It's going to be exciting for us, and I think the kids will love it as well.