Cut & Paste: Actor helps make theater friendlier for those with sensory issues — including herself
St. Louis actor Jen Kerner has played dozens of characters, but in recent years she’s taken on a new role: making the theater experience enjoyable for people who are overwhelmed by loud sounds and bright lights that are part of the typical theatrical experience.
Kerner works in job placement for people with developmental disabilities who often have sensory issues. Four years ago, she began to pay more attention to her own sensitivities during rehearsals for “The Music Man," in which the orchestra seemed noisy and abrasive. Shortly thereafter, a doctor diagnosed her with autism.
In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Kerner about her struggles and her advocacy, in two upcoming sensory-friendly productions.
On Sunday, Next Generation Theater Company presents an adaptation of “Newsies" at the Florissant Civic Center, and on Sept. 20, Christ Memorial Luther Church will hold a sensory-friendly presentation of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Here’s a list of sensory-friendly summer experiences for children, from art-making to movies to playgrounds.
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