Special show for kids on the autism spectrum

Imagine a place that fuels kids’ appreciation for bravery, honesty and family tradition in a place created just for them.

That’s what the Chicago Children’s Theatre had in mind when it created Red Kite Treasure Adventure, an interactive theatrical experience with live music and sensory moments created specifically for kids on the autism spectrum.

“When I started reading Edith Nesbit’s ‘The Story of the Treasure Seekers, I was struck by how the young characters were exploring the differences between the literal and the imaginary,” says Jamie Abelson, the writer of Red Kite Treasure Adventure.

“In many cases, the children would overhear their parents using a metaphor or expression that they would interpret literally. Their literal interpretation would often be the inciting idea for their next adventure. Discerning the literal from the figurative can be a challenge for children with autism, so I thought this would be thought-provoking material to use for inspiration.”

In the show, inspired by characters in Nesbit’s book, Oswald and his precocious siblings attempt to replace a priceless family heirloom, a rare Chinese vase.Their journey leads them through a hole in the Earth to Chinatown where they arrive just in time for New Year’s festivities, dragon puppets, fireworks, lanterns and shadow play. There, they conquer their fears and a sea serpent named Gong Gong before returning home.

Performances are limited to 10 children, each accompanied by a parent or caregiver. There also are a limited number of tickets for another parent and siblings.


If you go

Feb. 2-March 4

Fridays 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Saturdays noon 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 each.

Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new home, The Station at 100 S. Racine Ave., Chicago

All registrants will receive a “Social Story” closer to the performance date that provides an overview and helps prepare kids for the show.

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