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Kimmel Center Announces Sensory-Friendly Performances across Cultural Campus throughout 2018-19 season

Posted on July 31, 2018

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


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Sensory-friendly Campus-wide performances announced @KimmelCenter through 2018-19 season, including Broadway, ballet, orchestra, and more. More info @ #ArtHappensHere



Press Contact:

Leslie Tyler


[email protected]








Performances include Broadway Philadelphia’s Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical;

Pennsylvania Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®;

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season; and assorted programs from The Philadelphia Orchestra


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, July 12, 2018) –– The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announces a broad range of sensory-friendly performances across its Campus throughout the 2018-19 season, with presentations from Broadway Philadelphia and three of the Center’s esteemed resident companies including Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Philly POPS. Part of a Campus-wide commitment to present a diverse tapestry of programming to the Philadelphia community, the upcoming lineup of events furthers the mission of reaching broad and diverse audiences.


The first ever Broadway Philadelphia sensory-friendly performance – Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical – takes place at the Merriam Theater on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 11 a.m. Additional holiday offerings include: The Philly POPS’ A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season, taking place on Wednesday, December 5 in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall; and Pennsylvania Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, taking place Thursday, December 27 at 12 p.m. The Philadelphia Orchestra will offer accommodating presentations throughout their season, including full orchestra performances in July of 2018 and May of 2019.


“Throughout the year, our Philadelphia neighbors are invited to experience the transformative power of art on our Kimmel Center Cultural Campus,” said Ed Cambron, Executive Vice President of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “These expanded sensory-friendly offerings – from family-friendly, holiday classics to assorted orchestral experiences – are a wonderful opportunity for the Kimmel Center to unite with resident companies in reaching all ages and abilities, allowing this group to experience diverse art offerings in a new and inclusive way.”


In partnership with ArtReach, these presentations embrace individuals with sensory sensitivities, communication differences, and those with autism spectrum disorders by creating a safe and inclusive environment. Theater adjustments include modified sound and house lights and designated quiet areas, as well as relaxed house rules, allowing individuals permission to move around during the performance. Talking and reacting among guests is unrestricted, and outside sensory-friendly stress relief devices are welcome. Sensory-friendly kits are available regularly to all guests on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus and can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis by contacting Patron Services at 215-893-1999. Kits are equipped with noise-cancelling headphones, weighted bean bags, and fidget toys.


Details below for 2018-19 sensory-friendly performances across the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus:




Merriam Theater

Running December 19 – 29, 2018

*Sensory-friendly performance – Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 11 a.m.


Accommodations include: lowered house lights, adjusted sound, and a designated quiet area within the theater. This sensory-friendly performance is designed to foster a welcoming setting for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.


Premiering in Philadelphia from December 19-29, 2018, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tour has presented past sensory-friendly performances, beginning at The Old Globe in San Diego, its premier theater. Single tickets for these Broadway Philadelphia performances go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 20.


Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical features the hit songs "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas” (written by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss) from the original animated series. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is "two sizes too small," decides to steal Christmas away from the Holiday loving Whos. Magnificent sets (John Lee Beatty) and costumes (Robert Morgan) inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville, while the Music and Book of Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason breathe new life into this timeless story of the true meaning of Christmas. The 2015 production is directed by Matt August and choreographed by Bob Richard based on the original choreography by John DeLuca and originally created by 3-time Tony Award®-winning director, Jack O’Brien.





Presented by Cigna

Academy of Music

Running December 7 – 31, 2018

*Sensory-friendly performance – Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 12 p.m.


Pennsylvania Ballet’s sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a welcoming environment for families with children who are on the autism spectrum or may have sensory sensitivities. They are also for anyone who may benefit from being in a more relaxed environment. As the first resident company to offer a sensory-friendly performance on a Kimmel Center Cultural Campus mainstage in 2016, Pennsylvania Ballet is thrilled to present their third annual sensory-friendly performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.


Accommodations include: adjusted lighting/sound, low house lights, and a designated safe/quiet area within the theater. In addition to freedom to talk, leave seats, and move freely during the performance, Pennsylvania Ballet has also ensured gluten-free concession options. The pre-show materials are available on and emailed to all sensory-friendly ticket holders one week before the show, and then again three days prior to the performance.


For more than thirty years, Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® has been one of Philadelphia’s greatest – and most beloved – holiday traditions. From a festive family party, to the exciting battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the delectable journey through the Land of Sweets, Marie’s magical story is thrilling for the young – and young at heart.


Pennsylvania Ballet is grateful to The Bergman Foundation for their support of these sensory-friendly performances.





Academy of Music Ballroom

*Sensory-friendly performances include the following dates:

Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.



The Mann Center

A Championship Season

*Sensory-friendly performance – Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 8 p.m.


Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall

The Animated Orchestra: A Sensory-Friendly Concert

*Sensory-friendly performance – Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.


Through its HEAR initiative (Health, Education, Access, and Research), The Philadelphia Orchestra is committed to sharing live orchestral experiences with the many diverse communities that make up the greater Philadelphia region, both on and off the stage at Verizon Hall. In an effort to make the Orchestra truly accessible to all audiences, they provide sensory-friendly concerts and events for children and adults with a range of cognitive and learning differences. The goal is to create a safe and accepting environment where audiences, including those on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities, and their families can experience live music together.


Sound All Around concerts for music lovers ages 3-5 and their families, as well as full orchestra  performances in Verizon Hall for music lovers of all ages, feature relaxed house rules, online pre-visit stories, fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones, a quiet space, and trained staff, ushers, musicians, and volunteers. The Mann Center performance features relaxed seating available on the lawn, along with a quiet space with fidget toys and noise-cancelling headphones. The pre-show materials are available on


The Sound All Around concert series is endowed in perpetuity by the Garrison Family Fund for Children’s Concerts.





Verizon Hall

Running December 1 – 22, 2018

*Sensory-friendly performance – Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 8 p.m.


The Philly POPS’ sensory-friendly performances will create a music experience that is welcoming, judgment-free, and inclusive of guests with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, including, but not limited to: individuals on the autism spectrum, young children and guests who might benefit from a relaxed environment.


For sensory-friendly performances, guests are free to vocalize, move around and enjoy the performance as they wish, all while in a “shush-free” environment. During the performance, lighting and amplified sound will be kept mid-level. Guests are also free to leave the performance hall and take breaks on bean bag chairs outside of Verizon Hall. Through ArtReach, noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys and sensory stress toys will be available, but guests may bring their own if desired. For more information on sensory-friendly performances, visit


Single tickets for A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season are now on sale. Visit and use code SFPOPS for the best sensory-friendly experience seating.


For the 2018 A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season, Broadway legend Todd Ellison takes the baton for an all-new repertoire of your favorite holiday classics. Fresh from his Tony-nominated An American in Paris stint, Ellison brings his trademark sophistication and style to the POPS. This holiday season features Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, who rocked Philly’s Independence Week in 2017 with moments from her Broadway hit In the Heights and Frozen and stunned the Parkway with her stirring “This Land is Your Land”. The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the award-winning African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir and the Philadelphia Boys Choir add cheer, spirit and splendor to the over 300-performer presentation. 


The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center’s mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2018-2019 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit


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For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


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