Disability-inclusive performances - Media - Details

Disability-inclusive performances

Disability-inclusive performances
Sep 29, 2019

The Autism Society of Greater Akron (ASGA) and Tuesday Musical are collaborating on two disability inclusive events at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron this fall: Akron Legends of Jazz and Dance on October 10 and October Octets on October 30.

The collaboration grew from suggestions during ASGA’s 2018 Akron Community Foundation “On the Table” conversations about Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. During those conversations, community members suggested more local events targeted toward adults living with autism and other disabilities.

“Disability inclusion involves more than opening doors for people with disabilities. Intentional policies and practices must be in effect to make the experience inclusive,” explained Laurie Cramer, ASGA executive director.

People on the autism spectrum or with other disabilities, and their families, may obtain free or reduced-rate tickets and receive assistance with seating and accommodations by calling Tuesday Musical at 330-761-3460.

Regular-price tickets are $45 and free for students. They are available online or 330-761-3460, and at the door that evening as long as seats are still available.

Preparing for our Inclusive Performances

As part of the collaboration, ASGA and Tuesday Musical are working to address barriers to social inclusion for people with disabilities.

Among their actions: using the Akron Community Foundation grant to offer reduced ticket prices as well as 80 free tickets to several residential housing providers for people with disabilities; updating websites with pre-performance information to help audience members with disabilities prepare for their experience; providing fidget spinners for those who may need them; and offering a quiet area in EJ if someone needs a break.

They also provided free training in September for staff members and ushers at EJ and the Akron Civic Theatre, several musicians involved with the two performances, and others.

“We also want to encourage our familiar audience members to share the concert experience with people with disabilities, and to appreciate that everyone enjoys the arts differently,” said Cynthia Snider, Interim executive director at Tuesday Musical.

“You may see a device being used that helps someone hear, or there may be a clap between musical movements. With these inclusive performances, we want to remove stereotypes and biases and replace them with understanding and support, so that all may enjoy the artistic gifts our community offers."