Flynn Center Collaborates With Chicago Children's Theater On A New Show For Young People With Autism

Oct 26, 2017

This week, each corner inside the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery next to Burlington's Flynn Center for the Performing Arts has simple props, like tiny chairs draped with child-sized, flannel button-up shirts, cozy blankets and soft animal puppets. For the past week, this space has served as an incubator for a work-in-progress for a very specific theater audience.

Jacqui Russell is the co-founder and artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Theatre and the catalyst behind something called, The Red Kite Project. For the past eight years, The Red Kite Project has created performances, classes and camps specifically designed for young people on the autism spectrum in the Chicago area and in parts of Canada.

This week, that collaboration traveled to Vermont when Russell, along with Will Bishop, production manager and designer at CCT, teamed up with the Flynn Center's Student Matinee Coordinator, Kat Redniss.

The small group recruited local actors, designers and musicians to create, Red Kite – Green Mountain, a sensory-friendly performance for young Vermonters on the autism spectrum.

Thursday evening, local designer Maggie Standley from Wingspan Studio, performers Ellen O'Brien, Noelle Argonza, Owen Leavey, Jenny Norris and musician Josh Glass will workshop the piece with a live, hand-picked audience of young Vermonters.

Already no stranger to creating sensory-friendly, positive and inclusive theater experiences, Redniss said this collaboration allows the Flynn to commit even further to making its space and performances available to everyone.

Look for a formal premiere next fall of Red Kite - Green Mountain and learn more about the Flynn's accessibility here and send questions about Red Kite - Green Mountain to kredniss@flynncenter.org or mbell@flynncenter.org.