Increasing attention is being given within the King County arts and culture community to making cultural activities inclusive of everyone.  At the same time, sensory friendly events are becoming more popular.  While these kind of events are not inclusive they may always be necessary for some audience members.  This past weekend I volunteered at the Paramount Theatre’s (in Seattle) sensory friendly performance of The Lion King.  I was very impressed by the accommodations and adaptions that were made, which included:

– Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
– Lights remain on at a low level in the theatre during the performance
– A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience
– Patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
– Designated quiet and activity areas within the theatre
– Space throughout the theatre for standing and movement
– Guidance and sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise cancelling ear-muffs) available in the lobby before the show
– Audience members are welcome to bring their own manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects, and extra support items to the show
– Prior to the performances, tours can be scheduled with the Education Department. Please contact
– Use of tablets, smart phones, and other electronic devices can be used with headphones during the performance
– Extra staff and volunteer support
– STG staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families’ needs
– Specialized Therapist will be assigned to every floor to support patrons in need
– Character Guide, Guide to Attending the Show and Scene Breakdown will be available

It was a well thought out and executed effort and I hope other arts and culture organizations will follow this lead, both in King County and around the state.