My Father’s Dragon

A Sensory Friendly Performance

MAY 3 • 4PM

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Tickets: $25, $20 | Limit 8 tickets per billing address

In collaboration with author Ruth Stiles Gannett and in celebration of the books’ 70th Anniversary, Enchantment Theatre Company brings the three tales of My Father’s Dragon to life on stage.

When nine-year old Elmer Elevator hears about a baby dragon who is held captive by the ferocious animals of Wild Island, he sets off on an adventure to rescue the dragon and return him home. With the help of his friend the Alley Cat, Elmer packs everything he thinks he’ll need – including chewing gum, two-dozen lollipops, seven hair ribbons and a box of rubber bands! With pluck and ingenuity Elmer makes his way to the Island, outwits the wild animals and saves Boris, the dragon. But can they find their way back home? As they travel over the ocean they get lost in a storm and discover a magical island of escaped canaries. The resourceful Elmer helps the canaries overcome their “curiosity disease” and uncover a stash of hidden riches. With bags of gold and the canaries’ blessings, the dauntless duo at last returns home.

With talking animals, a daring rescue, a flying dragon, buried treasure and lots of humor throughout, this fabulous adventure is brought to the stage in Enchantment Theatre’s distinctive style. Using puppets, masks, inventive scenic effects and original music, Enchantment Theatre Company is delighted to bring you the story of a compassionate and courageous young boy and his unlikely friendship with a splendid yellow and blue-striped dragon.

$1 from every ticket sold will be donated to POAC Autism Services.

What is Sensory-Friendly Programming?

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report showing 1 in 68 children nationally has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. New Jersey showed the highest rates in the report, with 1 in 45 on the spectrum, including 1 in 28 boys. According to the CDC, approximately 2% or more of New Jersey children from birth to 21 years of age currently experience Autism Spectrum Disorder.

With guidance from POAC Autism Services  and several area performing arts organizations already presenting programs for children on the spectrum, the Basie will transform itself into a safe, judgement-free and sensory-friendly environment for these performances. Patrons and their children will be permitted to bring in favorite snacks, iPads and other objects of affinity, while house lights will remain bright enough for children to know where they are, and sudden or shrill sounds will be eliminated from the performance. A quiet room with “fidgets” and coloring pages / crayons will also be available to families.

Basie event staffers have also received training and guidance from POAC to ensure its sensory-friendly programs are just that: friendly.

Prior To The Performance:

A downloadable PDF and video for parents will be made available, detailing the sights and procedures guests will experience as they visit the Basie for this unique performance. In addition, the Basie will hold two “Meet Your Seat” events in the weeks prior to these events, so that families may visit the theatre while it’s empty to allow children the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the space.

These events would not be possible without the support the Basie received during its live “Giving Tuesday” broadcast on 94.3 The Point. On that day, the Grunin Family Foundation matched donations dollar-for-dollar, all in the name of funding our sensory-friendly efforts. In addition, $2 from every ticket sold on that day was donated back to POAC to support that organization’s mission

“Exposing children to the arts is vital to their growth in so many ways and this is no different for children with autism,” says POAC founder Gary Weitzen. “However, parents of children with special needs are often hesitant to bring their kids to performances for a whole host of reasons from sensory issues to concern about the reaction of other theater goers to their children.”

“By providing this autism and sensory friendly performance, the Basie is not only making theater more accessible, they are giving all of our children the gift of the arts. We can’t thank them enough.”

Presented by Count Basie Theatre