NEPA Scene Staff

Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre hosts free sensory-friendly ‘James and the Giant Peach’ performances July 12-14

Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre hosts free sensory-friendly ‘James and the Giant Peach’ performances July 12-14
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

The F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre will present its second set of sensory-friendly live performances this summer with Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach,” a musical version made for young audiences.

Presented in partnership with the King’s College Theatre Department, this production directed by Skyler Makuch will be performed in the Kirby Center’s Chandelier Lobby on Friday, July 12 at 10 a.m.; Saturday, July 13 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and Sunday, July 14 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“James and the Giant Peach” is free to the public. Tickets are limited and available now at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre) and by phone at 570-826-1100.

Sensory-friendly theatre exists in order to make theatrical experiences accessible to audience members who may be sensitive to sensory stimuli and their families. Children or adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensory issues often cannot experience theatre in what would be considered a traditional environment.

“Revisiting sensory-friendly or relaxed theater for a second year has been a joy,” said Anne Rodella, artistic director of the Kirby Center. “Creating spaces and opportunities where the arts are truly available to all is at the heart of the F.M. Kirby Center’s mission. We look forward to collaborating year-round to increase these opportunities.”

In order to create sensory-friendly theatre, each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues.

Slight adjustments to the production are made, including reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe and spotlights that shine into the audience. House lights are faintly dimmed but remain on. Quiet and activity areas staffed with volunteers and specialists are available in the lobby areas for those who need to leave their seats during the performance. Additional supports, such as social narratives and character guides, are available in advance of the performance. Through accessibility is someone’s humanity, and through sensory-friendly theatre, the arts can be unlocked for everyone.

Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” is now a “Theatre for Young Audiences” musical for the whole family to enjoy. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score by the Tony Award-nominated team of Pasek and Paul (“Dogfight” and “A Christmas Story: The Musical”) and a curiously quirky book by Timothy Allen McDonald (Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka,” “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley”), critics rave that “James and the Giant Peach” is a “masterpeach.”

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach… and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach – among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities – but, after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks, and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building.

A delightfully offbeat adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl adventure, the creative possibilities with “James and the Giant Peach” are endless. Actors love playing the outlandish characters and performing brand new material from one of Broadway’s hottest duos.