Theater for Children with ASD

theatre-curtainsHave you had the opportunity to watch live theater? Not a movie, but real people acting on stage right in front of you. Theater –a live performance – is completely unlike watching a movie. Rarely are you bombarded with sound from high powered speakers. The volume in theater is more moderate, requiring you to be focused on engaging with the performance. And the audience in the theater is usually quiet, except when they are laughing or applauding, not like the cinema where all sorts of conversations seem to be going on.

You can probably guess from that opening that I love the theater. And I wonder – how often do children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) get to go to a theater performance? My guess is not very often because of all the “rules” about being quiet, sitting still, not leaving during the performance, etc. But what if there were a way that they and their parents could go to a theater performance? Even better – what if they didn’t have to sit still in their seats and be quiet but could be part of the performance? How cool would that be?

There is a production that does exactly that – it is exclusively for children with ASD, and it expects the children to be children and to move around and talk and sing and interact. The Chicago Children’s Theater Red Kite Adventures program is theater for children with ASD. Arrangements can be made for these performances to take place at schools and community centers. And the latest production – Red Kite, Brown Box – will be going on a national tour during 2015-2016.

To read more about Red Kite Adventures for children with ASD at the Chicago Children’s Theater, click here. And be sure to scroll down to the paragraph that starts with the word Performances if you want to find out about bringing a performance to a school or community center.

Russell Bonanno, M.Ed.
TAP Program Manager

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