Opera is for everyone, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is helping visitors with developmental disabilities enjoy a special performance on September 18 at 11 a.m. in the Zoo’s amphitheater by providing sensory bags, a guide to the performance, and social narratives.
“The Cincinnati Opera does an evening performance at the Zoo once a year, and it always sells out! In order to give more people an opportunity to experience opera, this year we’re inviting guests to attend a daytime dress rehearsal,” said Rhiannon Hoeweler, Cincinnati Zoo’s VP of visitor engagement and FUN. “All guests are welcome, especially those with developmental disabilities that make it difficult to attend performances at Music Hall or other, crowded venues.”
The social narrative explains, with visuals and text, what audience members should expect to see. It describes what an opera is and that this one will be a little different because it includes animals. See example.
“From 1920 to 1971, Cincinnati Opera’s first habitat was the Cincinnati Zoo! Even though we now reside in Music Hall, we’re thrilled to have the chance to partner with our world-class zoo for this tenth annual celebration,” said Kate Brockmeier, Cincinnati Opera’
s production operations manager. “We’re delighted to be able to connect with even more visitors this year, and we invite all audience members to join us as we chirp, squeak, bellow, and roar with the animals!”
The Zoo, in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), has been working hard to become the most welcoming, accessible, and inclusive Zoo for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. About 600 Zoo staff members and volunteers have received training to promote inclusion through CCHMC’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities program (LEND) and are ready to welcome all guests.