SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah Ballet Theater has been putting on their production of The Nutcracker for 21 years. But this year, the classic ballet is undergoing a few changes.
Along with launching its own orchestra, the Savannah Ballet Theater received an investment grant from the City of Savannah to help them fund this season’s low sensory production and touch tour.
“I was sitting in a grant meeting with the commissioners, the incredible commissioners from the City of Savannah, and I could not believe that this had never been done before,” Savannah Ballet Advancement Director Abby McCuen said.
Low sensory productions and touch tours are designed specifically for students with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities and other disabilities as a part of their Educational Performance Outreach Series. The theater is the first professional arts organization in Savannah to offer this type of accessible experience.
“We truly believe that everybody should have access to the arts regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background,” McCuen said. “This is an underserved community. Teachers and educators have come to us and said we don’t have field trip opportunities of our students and we wanted to provide them with that opportunity.”
During the modified productions, there will be softened lighting and sound, with a quiet lobby area.
Before performances, there will be touch tours for people who are blind or experience low vision for a stress-free, backstage exploration of props and costumes — and the opportunity to meet with cast members to learn more about productions.
“Shows on broadway are only doing this five times a year and it sells out in minutes,” McCuen said. “So this is an opportunity for local kids, you know, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System children to relax and enjoy a great show.
Performances for The Nutcracker will be at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at Lucas Theatre for the Arts (32 Abercorn St.). The low sensory production and touch tour is slated for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6.