A Sensory-Friendly Nutcracker Comes to Theaters

By Christina Elston

special needs sensory friendly nutcracker

Young Marie dances with her Nutcracker prince in the Bolshoi Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.” PHOTO BY DAMIR YUSUPOV

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, you might have shied away from ballet – even that most child-friendly ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Children with sensory issues might be overwhelmed by the sound and the spectacle. And those with attention deficits could have a tough time staying quietly in their seats.

This month, the Autism Society of America is helping bring “The Nutcracker” to kids with autism in a big (but low-key) way. In partnership with Fathom Events, they will be screening the Bolshoi Ballet production of the holiday classic direct from Moscow at movie theaters Dec. 19.

For one night only, families can enjoy the tale of young Marie and her Nutcracker prince danced by the Bolshoi’s principals and captured live from the Bolshoi stage. And in this relaxed presentation, which begins at 6 p.m., the lights will be raised, the audio will be lowered and audience members will not be expected to stay quiet or in their seats. As young Marie’s Christmas Nutcracker transforms into a prince and takes her on a magical journey, children can dance along with the ballerinas on screen, battle the mouse king, sing, shout, move around and express themselves however they like.

The performance, which has an approximate run time of two hours 15 minutes, will screen locally at the AMC Burbank 16  (125 Palm Ave., Burbank; 818-953-2932) and the Cinemark 18 & XD Los Angeles (The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, 6081 Center Dr., L.A.; 310-568-3394).

Tickets can be purchased through www.FathomEvents.com or at individual theater websites or box offices.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with Fathom Events to bring the production of ‘The Nutcracker’ shown in sensory responsive theaters to families and individuals impacted by autism this holiday season,” Autism Society of America President Scott Badesch said in announcing the event. For the price of a movie ticket, and maybe a box of popcorn, your little prince or sugar plum fairy can be part of the magic.

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