Gwinnett theatre to open season with “sensory friendly” performances

The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre this year promises to delight audiences of all ages with a line-up of “sensory friendly” performances.

The non-profit will open its fall season at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 with a showing of “Cinderella” at the Infinite Energy Theater, formerly the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

Cinderella is one of two performances planned for audiences impacted by autism and other sensory issues and their families. “The Nutcracker” will follow at 11:45 a.m. Dec. 4 at the same theater.

The special performances, now in their second year, incorporate measures such as low lighting and noise that support sensory issues. Audience members do not have to sit still and can walk around, clap and cheer if they wish.

The initiative, the brainchild of Jennifer Manton, a GBT parent, is being supported by a grant from the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia.

Manton initiated and supervised the first “sensory friendly” performance in December with one of GBT’s “The Nutcracker” school shows. Because it was such a success, theater officials decided to offer more performances this season.

“We applaud GBT for having the vision and passion to design sensory friendly performances that open up the stage to so many that would not otherwise be able to enjoy the ballet,” said Paige Havens, director of the Brain Injury Association of Georgia in a press release.

More than 150,000 Georgians live with disabilities due to brain injury and many experience significant sensory issues that keep them and their families from being able to get out and enjoy performances.

Tickets for “Cinderella” can be purchased at InfiniteEnergyCenter.com, the Arena Box Office or by calling 770-626-2464. They are $8 for individuals and $6 for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets for the “Nutcracker” show are available through Gwinnett Ballet Theatre by writing to gbt78@bellsouth.net.

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