Third Annual Union County Sensory Friendly Theatre Series Kicks Off

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that tickets are on sale now for the 2014-2015 Sensory Friendly Theatre series at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. The Sensory Friendly music, theater, and dance performances are specially adapted for persons with autism and other sensory sensitivities.

“The Freeholder Board is proud to present the Sensory Friendly Series, which enables children, adults, and families to enjoy enriching cultural experiences in a judgment-free, supportive environment,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak.

The Sensory Friendly Theatre series kicks off this fall with the inquisitive, lovable little monkey Curious George on September 21, and the winter adventures of Frosty on November 23.

The series continues in 2015 with puppeteer Jim West’s Dinosaurs on January 11. On March 29, join The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical as the beloved bear family learns important life lessons.

Bring the family to see Cinderella, one of New Jersey Ballet’s most popular productions for kids and families on May 3. Cinderella is a two-act romp through the well-known fairy tale with stepsisters, dancing clocks, a pumpkin coach, and more.

All seats are $8 per person and can be purchased through the Union County Performing Arts Center at ucpac.org or by calling the Box Office at 732-499-8226.

The Sensory Friendly Theatre series, presented by the Freeholder Board, began in 2012 as an initiative of Freeholder Alexander Mirabella. It is designed according to guidelines that help reduce disturbances for youngsters who experience heightened sensory sensitivity.

Implementing the supportive atmosphere is the organization Autism Friendly Spaces, which provides specialists to train staff and volunteers on working with  children with autism and other special needs during Sensory Friendly Theatre performances, while providing comfort and help to families.

For each of the special performances in the Sensory Friendly Theatre series, the theatre environment at the Performing Arts Center will be adjusted to provide a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families.

What to expect at a Sensory Friendly Theatre event:


  • Each performance will run 60 minutes with no intermission.
  • Seating is general admission and a limited number of tickets will be sold to maintain a comfortable size audience at each performance.
  • Lights will remain up inside the theatre auditorium.
  • Sound volume will be lowered and remain constant to prevent abrupt jarring sounds.
  • Children are free to talk and vocalize as they wish.
  • Children may get up, leave their seats, or walk about the theatre under parental supervision.
  • A private lounge area will be available where children and their families can relax.  Fidget and stress sensory toys will be available for children to borrow as needed.
  • Professional Autism specialists will be available throughout the performance to provide assistance as requested or needed.
  • Resource Materials: “This Is My Theatre” Social Story Picture Packet, may be downloaded at ucpac.org. Families may use this Social Story tool to help acquaint their children with the experience of going to a live performance.
  • Families who have not been to the Union County Performing Arts Center are invited make an appointment at the box office to stop by and visit the theatre space and explore the seating prior to the performance date.



Autism disorders affect 1 in 88 U.S. children, according to U.S. government estimates. Children with the diagnosis are often sensitive to loud noises and harsh lights, and find it hard to sit still or remain quiet. Autism spectrum disorders include both severe and relatively mild symptoms.

Tickets are available at the UCPAC Box Office at 732-499-8226 or online at ucpac.org.

The UCPAC Box Office, located at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11AM until 5PM and is also open late on Thursdays until 8PM.

Located in the heart of the Rahway Arts District, Union County Performing Arts Center is within walking distance of the Rahway NJ Transit train station. By car, it can be reached by taking exit 135 from the Garden State Parkway or exit 12 from the NJ Turnpike. Parking is available downtown at the Rahway Parking Garage.