top of page

Sensory Friendly Improv

At Bridge 9 Theater we believe that improv should be accessible and inclusive. We are thrilled to bring Sensory Friendly Improv Shows to RVA. Our founder Rachel Garmon-Williams developed the first Sensory Friendly Improv show in RVA in 2017. Since that time they have helped other improv institutions develop sensory friendly performances from North Carolina to Chicago, ComedySportz to Second City and beyond! If this is the space for you we hope you will join us!

Next Show- June 22, 11am
Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center-
4901 Old Brook Rd, Richmond, VA
Suggested ticket donation amount $6 

What makes THIS different from the regular improv show?

• A pre-visit social story and preparatory materials

• Glow sticks raised when a loud noise is coming

• Reduction of the sound and bright lights on stage

• Low lighting in the theater so patrons can easily and safely move 

around throughout the performance

• Limited crowds and spaced out seating to allow more comfort

• Designated break space 

• Tablets and smartphones for communication welcomed 

• Relaxed house rules - feel free to get up, move around, and vocalize as 

you can feel free to be yourself

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a sensory-friendly performance?

A. A “sensory-friendly” performance is a theater production that is modified to  accommodate individuals with sensory-input disorders, such as people on the autism spectrum, those with anxiety, and people with a range of cognitive abilities. You will notice relaxed “house rules” – some individuals may need to get up, move around, and leave the theater during the performance. There is no expectation that the audience will be completely quiet during the performance. Our volunteers will be available throughout the performance to help you if you have any questions. A Quiet Area will be available with sensory-friendly toys for anyone who needs a break from the performance. Our goal is to create an environment where people with autism or sensory needs, along with their families, can enjoy coming to the theater together and will feel comfortable, supported and free to be themselves.

Q. What kinds of changes will be made to the production?

A. We will be keeping the lights in the audience on, but at a dimmed level. We will lower the volume of our speakers to limit noise sensitivity, but we encourage you to bring headphones. We will have a schedule of events for the performance so we can track each step. The Host will be using a whistle or other noise to signal a transition. There will be a signal to the audience to warn them that a potentially jarring moment auditory moment  is about to happen via glow sticks.


Q. Who should attend this performance?

A. The sensory-friendly performance is specially designed for individuals (adults and children) with sensory-input disorders, autism, or other developmental or cognitive disabilities, as well as their friends, families, caretakers and whomever they like to share the experience with. We promise a judgment-free, fun experience all. 


Please note all children must be accompanied by an adult.


Q. Can people without sensory input challenges attend this performance?

A. Yes, all individuals, regardless of their sensory needs, are welcome to attend the performance and to take advantage of the adaptations that a sensory-friendly performance provides. As indicated above, the experience will be different than a traditional performance; changes have been made to both the production and atmosphere in order to create a safe space for autistic individuals,  and those with sensory disorders and their families. All ticket buyers to this performance will be informed of these alterations.


Q. What if I or someone with me had  difficulty with transitions? Is 

there anything I can do to prep myself or them for this new experience?

A. We have crafted a social story to help prepare audience members for the experience. We will also open the house to the theater at 10:30am , 30mins before the start of the show, so that those wishing to arrive early to find their seat and meet our volunteers may do so.

Q. What if I, or someone I'm accompanying, needs to stim or makes noise during the performance?  

A. No problem! We expect that there will be noise and/or movement in the audience. Your child may not be the only one who talks, makes noise, or moves. If you chose, you are welcome to step out of the theater, but this is not necessary. We want you and your family to experience and 

express yourselves as you are. Our volunteers and cast have had training so that they know what to expect in terms of noise and movement in the audience.

Q. If I am not able to or a companion/child/family member is not able to sit through the entire show, will we be able to leave the theater? If we decide to, will we be able to return to our seat?

A. Yes, volunteers will be available to help any travelers to the lobby area. If someone in your family decides they cannot finish the show, you can absolutely leave the theater early. If they simply need a break, we will have 2 rest areas

Q. When and where is this show taking place?

Our next performance will be June 22 at 11am. The performance will be held at Pine Camp Cultural Arts Center. Tickets are available at the link below with a suggested donation of $6/ ticket

bottom of page