UW-Eau Claire and the Pablo Center at the Confluence will be putting on a production of “James and the Giant Peach” the next two weekends.
But this play will include a first for the university, a sensory-friendly version.
More than a year ago, the idea of putting together a production of “James and Giant Peach” was born at UW-Eau Claire, and this weekend all that hard work will come to life.
But there’s extra work for this play, which is adding two sensory-friendly performances.
“UWEC and the Pablo Center have really done tremendous work. The amount of time that they have put in to prepping this and researching has really made the process smooth and pretty simple because they know what they’re walking in to,” said Accessibility Consultant Hunter Gullickson.
The university received a grant to hire two student researchers to help put on the sensory-friendly performances.
“The theatre space traditionally is not always a space that everybody feels welcome in, so I think things like these are really, really important just to promote inclusivity,” said Student Researcher Olivia Haven.
Sensory-friendly performances are geared towards people on the autism spectrum, but can be enjoyed by everybody.
“The art product, it has some minor changes. I think the big change is the cultural environment allowing people to experience the event on their own terms,’ said UWEC Professor of Theatre Arts Dr. Jennifer Chapman.
At the special performances of James and the Giant Peach, the lights will not be as dark, there will be helpers throughout the seats, and even glow sticks to warn audience members of an intense scene.
“In terms of just creating a more relaxed theatre going experience. Welcoming people as they are, to just come, just be yourself in our space. If you need to step out of the theatre take a break in our break room, you can get up and move throughout the theatre,” said Student Researcher Cole Estrem.
There are more than 100 people involved in the entire production, from cast to crew.
Who say the sensory-friendly performances offer a way for even more people to enjoy the final product.
Performances of James and the Giant Peach will take place in the Jamf Theatre.
The two sensory-friendly performances will take place at 10 a.m. each of the next two Saturday’s.