It’s that time of year again! WGBH’s A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan is back for its 17th year. This year we are very excited to offer our very first sensory-friendly performance of this Christmas tradition on Friday, December 20 at 3pm. Please join us!
The sensory-friendly performance of WGBH’s A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan will be a concert dedicated to creating a more welcoming and accessible space for individuals with sensory input disorders, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and for anyone else who may benefit.
There will be modifications throughout the theatre space that create a friendly, non-judgmental and supportive environment that encourage patrons to experience the magic of theatre in their own way. Families, friends and caregivers for individuals with sensory-input disorders and community advocates are also encouraged to attend!
The one hour concert will include songs, dances and poetry reflective of the Celtic Christmas spirit. A Christmas Celtic Sojournwill be hosted by Brian O’Donovan. The performance showcases the compelling and diverse offerings of the weekly and national radio programs that explore traditional and contemporary music from around the Celtic world.
There will be several sing alongs using both familiar and perhaps unfamiliar Christmas songs to spark the holiday spirit within us all. Beautifully choreographed Irish traditional dance using hard and soft shoes will have you grooving in the aisles. New instruments including the Swedish Nyckelharpa will be introduced to the audience, and multiple other traditional Celtic instruments such as fiddles, harp, guitar, drums, bass, banjo, piano, flute, and mandolin will also be featured.
To provide a safe and accepting environment for all patrons, this sensory-friendly performance will include the following modifications:
Lower overall sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds.
House lights will remain illuminated at a low level throughout the performance.
Relaxed house rules: patrons may move, stand, make noise, talk, enter and exit the theatre as needed, eat*, and use personal sensory tools throughout the performance.
There will be a designated Take a Break Area available before, during and after the performance.
Limited crowds and spaced out assigned seating.
All patrons are welcome to bring their own sensory tools, peanut-free snacks*, manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects, headsets, earplugs, communication devices and extra support items to the performance.
Trained theatre staff members and specialists will be available throughout the theatre to support patrons.
* There will be NO concessions available for this performance. Please bring your own peanut-free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to eat and drink during the performance.
Pre-visit Resources (Coming soon!):
Social Narrative- Describes the social setting, the physical space, and what to expect throughout your time at the theatre.
Program Guide– A breakdown of the performers’ descriptions and roles.
Arrive Early – Come to the theatre at 2:15pm on the day of the show! You will have the opportunity to meet friendly staff and performers, see where you will be sitting, explore and adjust to the space.
Lyrics- Large font lyric sheets to sing along to your favorite holiday tunes!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What is a sensory-friendly performance?
A. A sensory-friendly performance is a live theatre production for individuals with a variety of sensory input disorders. Our sensory-friendly performance will be accessible to people with autism spectrum disorder, those with anxiety, and other cognitive needs. The majority of sensory-friendly adaptations occur in the audience, lobby and front of house as opposed to on the stage.
Q. How has the Cutler Majestic Theatre been adapted for a sensory-friendly performance?
A. During the sensory-friendly concert, patrons can move, stand, make noise, talk, enter and exit the theatre as needed, eat, and use personal sensory tools throughout the performance. The overall sound level will be lowered and the house lights will remain slightly illuminated. A Celtic Sojourn has created several pre-visit resources that are available to all attending patrons to prepare them for this sensory-friendly experience. A Celtic Sojourn will make numerous other subtle modifications to help everyone feel as comfortable as possible during the performance. There will be a Take a Break Area outside of the performance space for patrons to use as needed. Additionally, trained staff and volunteers will be available throughout the building to accommodate the needs of this specific population. There is no expectation that the audience will be silent during the performance. It will be a completely judgment-free zone!
Q. Can anyone attend a sensory-friendly performance?
A. Absolutely! All individuals are welcome as A Celtic Sojourn wishes to promote awareness and understanding that the arts are accessible to all. Please note that this performance caters to individuals with sensory input disorders and their families. Friends, caretakers and advocates of this community are also encouraged to attend! The performance will run one hour in length, and the theatre environment will be quite different from a regularly scheduled performance.
Q. What can I do to help someone with sensory input disorders prepare for this experience?
A. A Celtic Sojourn offers a number of pre-visit resources to help individuals with sensory input disorders prepare to see the performance. We are currently in the process of creating these materials. They will include a written social narrative and a performance guide which will become available in the coming weeks. Additionally, patrons are welcome to come to the theatre at 2:15pm on the day of the show. Patrons will have the opportunity to meet friendly staff, see the seat in which they will be sitting, explore and adjust to the space.
Q: What time does the Box Office open before the performance?
A. The Box Office will open two hours before the start of the performance at 1pm. Come early to collect your tickets and avoid the lines! This will give you some time to explore Boston before the concert begins at 3pm or you are welcome to join us inside the theatre beginning at 2:15pm.
Q. Will there be changes made to the script?
A. The script will not be altered.
Q. Are audience members allowed to bring sensory tools or other objects for support?
A. Yes, all patrons are encouraged to bring their own sensory tools, peanut-free snacks*, manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects, noise reduction headphones, earplugs, headsets, communication devices and extra support items to the performance.
* Please note that there will be no concessions available for this performance. Please bring your own peanut-free snacks. You are welcome to eat and drink during the performance.
Q. Can I use my cell phone or tablet during the performance?
A. Yes, for this sensory-friendly concert you are allowed to use your cell phone or tablet as we know these can be vital for communication and individual regulation. We kindly ask that they be put on silent or connected into headphones. Please note that taking pictures and recording of any kind is strictly prohibited.
Q. Can I leave the theatre and return afterward if needed?
A. Of course! You are welcome to leave your seat at any time. There will be a Take a Break Area available, family restrooms, and the theatre lobby will be open as well. Please look for theatre staff with a green glow stick around their neck and feel free to ask any questions. These individuals will be able to direct you wherever you need to go, and will gladly help you return to your seat when you would like to rejoin the performance.
Q. How long is the show?
A. A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan runs approximately 60 minutes with no intermission.
Q. How can I purchase tickets?
A. Tickets can be purchased through Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theatre Box Office at 617-824-8400 or purchase sensory-friendly tickets here!
Q. What is your refund policy?
A. Tickets to the sensory-friendly performance only are 100% refundable until the show begins at 3pm.
Q. Is this venue wheelchair accessible?
A. Yes. Please inform the Box Office at 617-824-8400 of any mobility issues before you visit.
Q. What if I need additional accommodations?
A. Please visit ArtsEmerson: Accessibilty Services to see all of the accessibility services that are available. If you need additional accommodations, do not hesitate to call the Box Office at 617-824-8400 to let us know! We will do our very best to try and accommodate your request.
Q. Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
A. All questions or concerns regarding the sensory-friendly performance only can be emailed to our Inclusion Specialist, Erin Ronder Neves at firstname.lastname@example.org.