By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre joins with the Hirsch Academy to present a sensory friendly nutcracker performance

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre is adding a new opportunity to its lengthy series of performances for children of all ages this holiday season. A Sensory Friendly performance of The Nutcracker will be held on Friday, December 5th at 11:45 a.m. at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Duluth, GA. 

GBT joins with the Hirsch Academy and ASAN (Atlanta Chapter) to create this opportunity to celebrate Neurodiversity in a safe and helpful atmosphere. Children and adults who may be sensitive to their environments will find this Nutcracker to be a welcoming experience. 

This event will be previewed in a segment on WSB-TV’s People 2 People program on Sunday, November 30th at 6:30 a.m.

A donation of $6 per person (teachers are free) is suggested to attend the performance. Reservations can be made by contacting Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at 404-237-0046. There is also a special order form which can be obtained by contacting the Hirsch Academy at 404-378-9706.

Celebrating all children and embracing all differences, this performance will be produced with a few changes so that all can enjoy it to the maximum. The performance itself has been shortened to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The house lights will be raised a bit so that it will not be completely dark. The music accompaniment for the dancers will also be lowered to avoid loud, unexpected noises.

Audience members will also be free to move about, clap, cheer and enjoy the performance. Should anyone prefer not to go into the theatre, a viewing area in the lobby with a large screen TV will be available. Respectful ushers and staff will provide a helpful and safe setting for all who come.

This performance came about as an idea of Jennifer Manton whose daughter Mary Grace is a GBT dancer and whose son, Davis, is a student at the Hirsch Academy.

“Mary Grace has been dancing since the age of three so Davis has had plenty of opportunities to experience the ballet.  Unfortunately, due to his sensory differences and traditional theatre expectations, he has not been able to fully enjoy this live performance experience.  As with Sensory Friendly movies and concerts, I know that if he has the opportunity to sing, dance and move about during the ballet, he will be hooked.  We are excited for this opportunity for GBT, the Hirsch Academy, and ASAN (Atlanta Chapter).  I believe both the viewers and dancers will walk away with a newfound love and appreciation for ballet and how, with just a few simple adjustments, the performing arts can be made available to all children and adults in our community.” 

As the theatre seats only 650 individuals, reservations for this event are very important to procure in advance. Call 770-237-0046 or 404-378-9706 for yours! 

For more information about GBT, visit the web site at http://www.gwinnettballet.org.  For more information about the Hirsch Academy, visit http://www.hirschacademy.org/