Smith Center’s ‘no surprises’ show geared to autistic childen

A different kind of special effects are planned for a show running at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday.

The house lights will be brightened, so each audience member can be sure of what’s happening around them. The sound will be lowered.

It’s The Smith Center’s first-ever sensory-friendly performance, a “no surprises” kind of show geared toward Las Vegas’ autistic children and their families. In honor of Autism Awareness Month this April, the venue is one of several organizations in the valley hosting events tailored to the needs of those living with autism.

“Sensory-friendly performances are really limited right now in Las Vegas, and that’s why we’re trying to integrate more into our community,” said Desirae Wingerter, program services and support manager for the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation, a Las Vegas nonprofit that supports families affected by autism. The foundation has partnered with the Blue Man Group over the past four years to offer an annual sensory-friendly performance. This year’s is scheduled for June 10.

Candy Schneider, vice president of education and outreach at the Smith Center, said “Shh! We Have a Plan” is 18 months in the making and has been a dream at least five years before that.

“The stars aligned,” Schneider said. The team was able to book a performance of “Shh! We Have a Plan,” a nonverbal show based on the picture book by Chris Haughton about a group of friends with a plan to capture a bird.

“We fit into when we had space available and when they were available and when they were heading west,” Schneider said. Though other production companies have offered sensory-friendly versions of their shows in the past few years, scheduling conflicts and inadequate funding got in the way of bringing a show to The Smith Center.

On Saturday, the performance hall plans showings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in its Troesh Studio Theater. Tickets are $10 and available at thesmithcenter.com.

Schneider hopes “Shh! We Have a Plan” will be a successful test run for sensory-friendly shows.

When “The Lion King” arrives for a 2½-week tour in November, Schneider said she hopes to partner with them to offer a sensory-friendly version, though her team is still working to secure the donations to make it happen.

Other events

Families for Effective Autism Treatment’s (FEAT) 2018 A-Games, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at 301 N. 6th St. Also, FEAT’s Parents Night Out, at 7055 Windy St., Suite B, 6 p.m. April 28. FEAT will provide child care on-site. featsonv.org

AzulBlue’s Dia Azul Medical Conference for parents to learn more about autism, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 23 at Texas Station in North Las Vegas. Register at azulblue.org/signup.html.

Grant a Gift Autism Foundation’s ninth annual 5k Race for Hope & Fun Walk, April 28 at Town Square Las Vegas. Sign-in begins at 7 a.m. Register at grantagiftfoundation.org.

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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