Sensory Friendly Initiatives

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

Two 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.”

Two performances of “Experience Rockballet” with Copper Coin Ballet Company were held on February 9, 2023.  Copper Coin Ballet Company presented dance selections set to the music of rock band Queen to the absolute delight of the audience members.  At the closing of the performance, audience members were invited to come to the stage floor to participate in some improvisational dancing with the performance company.

These videos can help all guests of the UIS Performing Arts Center understand what they will experience when they attend an event.

UIS Studio Theatre attendance experience

Sangamon Auditorium attendance experience