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Go Ask Mom

Duke Energy Center now certified 'sensory inclusive'

Posted October 27, 2019 12:18 p.m. EDT

Duke Energy Center photo

— Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, home to countless N.C. Symphony, North Carolina Theatre, Carolina Ballet and traveling Broadway show performances, is now certified sensory inclusive.

The Duke Energy Center partnered with KultureCity, a national nonprofit that works to make communities better for those with sensory needs, to achieve the certification. KultureCity also has worked with the PNC Arena and N.C. Zoo in North Carolina, along with 350 other venues around the world.

At the Duke Energy Center in downtown Raleigh, the new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with a sensory issue who attend a performance, according to a press release.

To become certified, medical professionals trained Duke Energy Center staff on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation, the release said. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones provided by Puro Sound Labs, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards will also be available to all guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.

Sensory sensitivities are common among those on the autism spectrum. But people with dementia, PTSD and other conditions also can suffer from it, making it difficult to attend live shows with big crowds, loud noises and lighting changes.

It's just the latest venue or group to provide support for those with sensory issues in the Triangle. The Museum of Life and Science also has taken steps to support guests with autism and sensory disorders. Marbles Kids Museum offers evening play for families with kids with special needs every other month and lights up, sound down movie screenings in its IMAX theater twice a month.

Kidzu Children's Museum has hosted sensory-friendly play. And Raleigh Little Theatre, Theatre in the Park, North Carolina Theatre, N.C. Symphony and Durham Performing Arts Center all have worked to provide resources and special performances for families with members on the spectrum. Raleigh Little Theatre will host a sensory performance of its current family production "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," at 1 p.m., Nov. 9.

For families planning to attend a performance at the Duke Energy Center, they can now download the free KultureCity App to learn about the sensory features are available and where they can access them. The app also offers a social story, which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying a performance at the Duke Energy Center.

“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a performance, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Duke Energy Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing," said Dr. Julian Maha, KultureCity's co-founder, in the press release.