A guest hugs an actor in a dentist costume, both smiling, in the well of the theatre. The actors around them react with surprise and joy. A man walks to them.
Joe Mallon and a guest (background: Lawrence Redmond, Jay Frisby, Kanysha Williams and Nia Savoy-Dock) at the sensory-friendly performance of the 2024 Ford’s Theatre production of Little Shop of Horrors. Photo by Carolina Dulcey.

Sensory-Friendly Performances

Since 2018, Ford’s Theatre has offered relaxed, sensory-friendly performances, providing theatrical experiences for people with sensory sensitivities.  

Ford’s Theatre is committed to accessibility at all levels and is thrilled to offer Sensory-Friendly performances. These performances are designed for those with sensory sensitivities who might benefit from an adjusted theatrical environment, including individuals with autism or other social, learning or cognitive disabilities. Our Sensory-Friendly experiences aim to provide a safe environment for those with sensory sensitivities, where individuals and families can relax and be their authentic selves. Theatrical adjustments for these performances vary, and often include:  

  • Adjusted overall sound levels in the theatre, especially for startling or loud sounds;  
  • Lights in the theatre will remain on at a low level during the performance;  
  • A reduction of strobe lighting and lighting focused on the audience;  
  • Space throughout the theatre for standing and movement;  
  • Limited capacity to allow for space between parties;  
  • Ford’s Theatre staff trained to welcome and assist guests as needed; 
  • Printed and digital resource materials from Ford’s accessibility committee available to prepare attendees for their visit. 

Upcoming Sensory-Friendly Performances

A Christmas Carol: Sunday, November 24, 2024 at 2 p.m.

Sister Act: Saturday, April 26, 2025 at 2 p.m. 

We are thrilled to offer Sensory-Friendly performances of our productions of A Christmas Carol and Sister Act this season! The adjustments for these dedicated performances will provide a family-friendly environment. We welcome anyone who may benefit from an adjusted theatrical environment. 

Please call (202) 347-4833 to purchase tickets. Learn more about the Ford’s Theatre 2024-2025 season and accessibility options at the links below.

“Sensory friendly musicals are so important…I personally benefit from having space to move around and I am able to comfortably self-regulate in my own way without worrying about being judged or ridiculed. This inclusive support is critical.”   Ben Breaux, Little Shop of Horrors 2024 Sensory-Friendly Performance Attendee 

“For many families, a professional show like this is almost impossible to think of doing. But you told us to be us. To move, to verbalize—to be. And just being who you are, with a few considerate accommodations means a person with autism, can experience the fun, excitement and joy of live theater. Thank you so much.” -Alyson Thomas, Little Shop of Horrors 2024 Sensory-Friendly Performance Attendee 

“As Special Guests for their sensory friendly presentations, my peers and I are always welcomed and greeted with the upmost kindness and respect. It’s like a big celebration and I just love that!” -Ben Breaux, Little Shop of Horrors 2024 Sensory-Friendly Performance Attendee in NBC4 Washington Feature 

“It is the most amazing experience for me as an actor that I’ve ever had, and it’s nice to be able to talk to people who are able to have an experience with their families and friends, and be themselves without any kind of judgment whatsoever.”  -Joe Mallon (Orin/Bernstein/Luce/Snip/Everyone Else), Little Shop of Horrors 2024 Sensory-Friendly Performance in NBC4 Washington Feature 

I so enjoyed all the pageantry, the wonderful music and the truly splendid acting! Ben Breaux, from the 2022 sensory-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol  

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