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Historic Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater Expands Shows to Accommodate Special Needs Audiences

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After more than six decades of bringing smiles to families’ faces through the arts, the Fantasy Playhouse children’s theater and academy is expanding its audience to those with special needs.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the theater is presenting new sensory performances as part of its 62nd season of stage productions this fall.

It’s an effort the theater has been working on for some time, but artistic director Stephen Tyler Davis was able to use his personal experience to help get the job done.

“At the school I use to teach, it was actually a student who came up to me and said, ‘I have these access needs, these are the things I need to appreciate the theater, “and someone taught me,” Davis said. “And I was able to take that experience and bring it with me to Fantasy.”

In partnership with Tourism ALL-a-Bama and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Huntsville South, the organization is able to provide all necessary accommodations throughout the season.

Visual and sound effects will be reduced, fidget toys and other sensory assistive tools will be distributed, and house lights will remain dimly lit to allow for accessibility access. It is one of the first such initiates to take place in Alabama.

Through the use of sensory kits with accessories such as sunglasses, headphones and non-verbal communicators, any child with autism spectrum disorder can still enjoy a play.

“The arts have such an impact on people,” Davis told News 19. “Making the arts accessible to all different groups of people makes the world a better place. And so if we can play a role in community development of Huntsville, we want to be on the front line.”

Three sensory performances will be in the spotlight this season:

  • “Charlotte’s Web” | Based on the book by EB White | Adapted by Joseph Robinette
    • Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 10 a.m.
  • “A Christmas Carol” | Based on the book by Charles Dickens | Adapted by Barbara Fields
    • Thursday December 8, 2022 at 5 p.m.
  • “Snow White and the 7 little ones” | Original screenplay by Stephen Tyler Davis
    • Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 10 a.m.

For more information on shows, ticket prices and details, visit https://www.fantasyplayhouse.org/.


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