Check this out: Inclusive theater sure to bring wows

You may think you know Pinocchio, but you don’t know Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new version of the old play. In this one, young and deaf actors perform together, using sign and voice, to share the story of the wooden boy with big dreams.

Produced by Chicago’s Neverbird Project, kids will see the beloved fairy tale in a whole new way.

“This production is an example of ground floor inclusion and accessibility,” says Levi Holloway, co-founder of Neverbird Project, which first presented Pinocchio in 2016 at Bell Elementary School, a CPS school with a focus on integrating deaf and hearing students.

“We are teaching all of our hearing actors ASL to tell the story, to enrich relationships between our deaf and hearing artists onstage and off. We at Neverbird believe that total accessibility and inclusion is a necessity in American theater,” he says in a news release.

Access Weekend for Pinocchio is April 29-30. The 2 p.m. show April 29 includes a pre-show Touch Tour, audio description and open captioning. The 6 p.m. show includes open captioning. The 2 p.m. show April 30 will be sensory friendly, with modifications made with lighting, sound and music to avoid sensory overload, plus a nearby quiet room. It also will feature a pre-show touch tour, audio description and open captioning.

The show, intended for ages 7 and up, runs April 20-May 7 at the new Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $25 and available at chicagochildrenstheatre.org or by calling (872) 222-9555.

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