The Tull Family Theater in Sewickley will host two events for people with autism and other special needs next weekend, including a sensory film screening and an open mic session. Both are free.
A sensory version of the PG-rated animated film, “Sing 2,” will premiere at 10 a.m. on March 19, without a trailer. An autism-friendly open mic session is scheduled from 2-5 p.m. on March 20, with attendees invited to join in or simply enjoy.
The nonprofit theater regularly provides entertainment opportunities for people with autism, sensory issues and other special needs, according to CEO Carolina Pais-Baretto Thor.
“Sensory activities are not always available outside the city centre. We provide better access for families who live out of town,” she said, with these programs regularly attracting people from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland and Washington counties.
“The feedback we get most often is that it gives families an increased level of comfort in being able to share their joys and challenges with others,” she said.
These two events are presented in partnership with Group together Pittsburgh, a Blawnox-based non-profit organization that engages young people with autism through music. the Autism Society of Pittsburgh only associates with the open mic session.
The opportunity to perform can open up new vistas for people with autism, said Band Together board member Ellen Allen of Allison Park.
“What we’ve seen with these young people is that their talents often go unrecognized because of their diagnosis,” she said. “It gives them the opportunity to shine.”
She saw him arrive with her 20-year-old son, Xavier, who has autism.
“He’s been going (to open-mic events) for a few years,” she said. “We saw him grow socially and start to have more confidence. We see it with all children.
John Vento, Pittsburgh musician and co-founder of Band Together, and other members of the organization will host the open mic. The organization partnered with the theater for its first Open Mic Autism Friendly in November. More than 70 people took part.
Participants can sing, karaoke, play an instrument, tell jokes, make impressions, stand up and say hello or even offer a prayer.
Jesse Torisky, president and CEO of the Autism Society, saw his brother, Eddie, do this in another open mic a few years ago.
“He got up and I said, ‘What are you doing? “, Torisky said. “He said, ‘I’m going to say the Our Father, and he did.
The open-mic atmosphere is welcoming and non-judgmental, he added. “Everyone is cheered.”
Although the open mic is free, reservations are requested at bandtogetherpgh.orgso that adequate snacks can be provided to participants.
Reservations for the film are recommended on the cinema’s website, thetullfamilytheatre.org.
The theater is located at 418 Walnut St., Sewickley. Sunday parking is free in Sewickley, both on the municipal grounds next to the theater and on the streets. Ramps provide easy access to the theatre.