Muncie Civic Theatre will soon present a play that invites all audience members to be “Part of Your World."
The Muncie Civic Theatre, in partnership with Interlock of East Central Indiana, will host a sensory-friendly production of “The Little Mermaid” at 2 p.m. Sunday. The show is free to those on the autism spectrum.
Laura Williamson, executive director of Muncie Civic Theatre and director of “The Little Mermaid,” said this show will have the classic story line but strip away any sensory pieces.
“Anything that would make loud noises or strobe lights or fog machines or LED lights are taken away,” Williamson said. “Basically, any sensory pieces of the show that might make them uncomfortable.”
Muncie Civic Theater additionally changes the environment of the theater to accommodate a sensory-friendly production.
One of the ways it accomplishes this is by keeping half the lights on in the theater, which allows attendees to avoid the feeling of stepping into a dark room.
Williamson plans to remove the LED lights and foggers for the production. This affects scenes like when King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto and when Ursula sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” because they typically have a large amount of special effects.
“You know, they are super cool if you have them, but if you don’t know they’re not supposed to be there, you aren’t necessarily going to notice if they aren’t there,” Williamson said. “Nothing that is integral to the story [is taken out], but just extras.”
This is not the first sensory production Muncie Civic Theater has produced. The theater attempts to do two sensory-friendly productions a year. Past productions include “Peter Pan,” “Scrooge! the Musical” and “Mary Poppins.”
“We welcome people to be themselves at the theater,” Williamson said. “If someone has a disorder like tourettes where they speak out, they are welcome to. No one will come and ask them to leave.”