Ep. 8: Sensory-Friendly Performances, Wiggles Welcome

Ep. 8: Sensory-Friendly Performances, Wiggles Welcome

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Since 2011, the Theatre Development Fund, also known as TDF, has presented more than 15 autism-friendly shows on Broadway, starting with Disney’s landmark musical ‘The Lion King.’ Beyond Broadway, TDF works with theatres across the country to help create environments that are accessible to all, including working with Arts Access in training some of the staff at Raleigh Little Theatre in advance of their performance of ‘Alice @ Wonderland’ last spring. This season Raleigh Little Theatre is offering one sensory-friendly performance of each one of their family series productions, including ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ ‘Junie B. Jones the Musical,’ and ‘Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.’ In addition, next season RLT is presenting ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’ in which they will not only be offering a sensory-friendly performance, but they will also be casting an autistic actor in the title role. For this episode, I sat down with Raleigh Little Theatre’s Executive Director Charles Phaneuf and Arts Access Executive Director Betsy Ludwig to talk about all the elements that go into these sensory-friendly shows.

For more information, click on the links below:

Raleigh Little Theatre

Arts Access

Theatre Development Fund Autism Initiative

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About the Guests

Charles Phaneuf is a Raleigh native who returned to the area and to RLT in 2012. He was previously Managing Director of Joe’s Movement Emporium, a multidisciplinary performing arts center located outside of Washington, DC, and Associate Managing Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company during the expansion into the Harman Center for the Arts. Charles is a founding member of the Capital Fringe Festival and Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, both in Washington. He is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, a board member of the Friends of the Gregg Museum at NCSU, and serves on the Dix Park Master Plan Advisory Committee. Charles was named “40 Under 40” by the ‘Triangle Business Journal’ in 2014 and “Tar Heel of the Week” by the ‘News & Observer’ in 2018.

Betsy Ludwig has been with Arts Access for eight years, originally hired as Program Director. She has a BA in Social Work from Salem College, an MS in Therapeutic Recreation from UNC-Chapel Hill and Course Work in Arts Administration from NYU. She has worked as a Social Worker, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Inclusion Specialist/Trainer, and Program Administrator for Group Homes, Day Programs, Hospitals, Public Schools and Community Non-Profits. 

Resources (Things Mentioned in this Episode)

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Junie B. Jones the Musical (Soundtrack)

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