New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces Performance Designed For Children With Autism

(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Paper Mill Playhouse in partnership with Pushcart Players will present a special engagement of the live musical STONE SOUP AND OTHER STORIES on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 10am.  Designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum, or with other developmental disabilities, and planned in cooperation with Autism New Jersey and Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers, the theater environment will be altered for this performance, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families.  At this unique presentation, theater lights will remain up, sound volume will be lowered and consistent and children will be free to talk and leave their seat under parental supervision.  The show will run about one hour with an intermission.

"For over twenty-five years Paper Mill Playhouse has been a national leader in accessibility and is committed to making the live-theater experience available to everyone," says Paper Mill Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee.  "This special performance enhances our vision that live theater should be accessible to every human being."

For this performance the producing partners are taking steps to condense and adapt the show's script to ensure it is literal and free of dramatic devises like innuendo and sarcasm, which are not readily understood by some children with autism.  They are also taking steps to equalize the dynamics of the performances to avoid sudden or jarring changes in sound levels.  Pushcart Players Managing Director, Stephanie Carr, said, "We were thrilled when Paper Mill approached us about this type of event.  This partnership offers a terrific opportunity to give kids and their families access to the arts in a way that would not otherwise be available to them."

Additionally, Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free Open House titled "Meet Your Seat!" on Friday, June 10, 2011 from 3-6pm.  This is an opportunity for children who are new to theater experiences to visit the theater space before the show.

Linda Meyer, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey, consulted with Paper Mill staff to design an event that is inclusive and comfortable for all families.  "Autism New Jersey is proud to support Paper Mill's project, Theater for Everyone.  Families, all families, will truly be welcomed at this performance.  Through careful planning and thoughtful accommodations, Paper Mill Playhouse has provided an opportunity for families to share in what many other families take for granted - a family theater experience."

STONE SOUP AND OTHER STORIES is a charming blend of select folk tales from around the world that are dynamic, participatory and filled with zesty entertainment!  Tickets are $12-$15. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343 or online at Paper Mill Playhouse's website: