Everything Nutcracker

8 Companies Offering Performances of 'The Nutcracker' for Special Needs Audience Members

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'The Nutcracker.' Photo by Rich Sofranko

Catching a performance of The Nutcracker has long been a holiday tradition for many families. And now, more and more companies are adding sensory-friendly elements to specific shows in an effort to make the classic ballet inclusive to children and adults with special needs.

While the accommodations vary depending on the company, many are presenting shorter versions of the ballet with more relaxed theater rules. Additionally, lower sound and stage light levels during the performance, as well as trained staff on hand, make The Nutcracker more accessible for those on the autism spectrum and others with special needs.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's performance will take place on Tuesday, December 26th, and they are one of the pioneer companies in presenting sensory-friendly performances of The Nutcracker (their first production was in 2013). PBT has also offered sensory-friendly versions of Jorden Morris' Peter Pan and Lew Christensen's Beauty and the Beast in the past.

See our list of sensory-friendly performances, and check out each site for all of the details regarding their offerings.


American Repertory Ballet, Sunday, November 19th.

Syracuse City Ballet, Sunday, December 3rd.

California Ballet Company, Saturday, December 16th.

Charlotte Ballet, Wednesday, December 20th.

Milwaukee Ballet, Wednesday, December 20th.

Pennsylvania Ballet, Wednesday, December 27th.

Boston Ballet, Tuesday, December 19th. Boston Ballet is offering an all-access performance, which includes accommodations like audio descriptions, ASL interpretation and specialized seating options.

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