UIS Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce the addition of sensory-friendly events to the performance schedule. These events were designed specifically to be enjoyed by individuals with neurodivergence. 

For the 2022-2023 season, musician Chris Vallillo and Springfield’s own Copper Coin Ballet Company crafted performances that highlight their art forms while reducing the challenges to the senses that traditional events sometimes pose. We hope these events will increase arts access for sensory-challenged individuals and their families in our community. All are welcome! 

chris_v.jpgTwo performances of “Experience Songs of Illinois” with Chris Vallillo were held on November 10, 2022.  Chris carefully crafted his choices (language used, songs and instruments selected, etc.) for this audience.  Special thanks go to The Hope School, The Hope Autism Clinic, Behavioral Perspectives, and Springfield Public Schools F.A.C.E./Springfield Parents for Students with Disabilities for helping the UIS Performing Arts Center reach audiences for this event. 

Comments from caregiver surveys about the event included the following: 

  • “(Chris Vallillo) did a wonderful job storytelling/teaching about instruments and engaging my son and others in the songs.  I also felt he was very comfortable during his performance even with some more noises in our crowd and with more movement needs of audience members there. i felt that his comfort performing with the audience last night allowed us all to feel at ease and relaxed. My son and others were truly allowed to be themselves as part of a group listening to great music, and that felt really awesome."
  • “(My child) loved going to the auditorium to see live performance without judgement or being asked to leave.”
  • “Your staff was very friendly and your facility is very nice”
  • “(Chris Vallillo) was very understanding & accepting. He was great at encouraging all types of participation.”
  • “The parking being close helped a great deal. The guidance to where we were going also helped. The smaller setting was not too overwhelming, allowing people to move around, make noises, leave and come back without everyone staring or looking around.”

Click on the links below for more information about and to purchase tickets for these upcoming sensory-friendly performances: 

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Experience Rockballet with Copper Coin Ballet – 10 AM performance on February 9 – part of the Staley Class Acts series

Experience Rockballet with Copper Coin Ballet – 6:30 PM public performance on February 9

In the News

NPR IL - October 21, 2022 - Carly Shank discusses sensory-friendly events, Our Stage / Our Voices preview event, and And Then They Came For Me.