Immersed in the senses

Sensorium Theatre celebrates its 100th performance at the Coolbellup Learning Centre.

FREMANTLE inclusive performance group Sensorium Theatre celebrated its 100th session for the year at the Coolbellup Learning Centre recently, bringing smiles to its special audience. 

Sensorium Theatre began in 2007 with a focus on providing access to the world of theatre and performance for children on the autism spectrum or with learning difficulties.

Sensorium director Michelle Hovane said having tactile access points to stories allowed children with different needs to interact with the performance on a level better understood by them.

“We perform sensory readings of books such as Wombat Stew by bringing all the senses in to tell the story,” Ms Hovane said.

Multi-sensory

The theatre group, which is sponsored by Telethon, performs to no more than 15 students at a time and caters for individuals with special needs from ages 1-24, changing the tone and show depending on their intellectual capabilities.

Australia’s only multi-sensory theatre producers, Sensorium has three main programs; Sensory Theatre which has fully realised theatre productions like Whoosh!, Sensory Rhymetime for children aged 0-8 and Sensory Storytelling for children aged 8-15.

CLC principal Pauline Winrow described Sensorium’s recent performance as “amazing, just beautiful” “We have worked with Sensorium for over 10 years and just watching them grow to learn the needs of each student and each different disability, they have a personal relationship with all of them now,” Ms Winrow said.

Prior to a show, Sensorium works closely with the school to better understand the individual needs of its students to ensure \each child can enjoy the show without limits.

“Having an inclusive show so the children know they are on an equal playing field is vital to our performances,” Ms Hovane said.

“Just this amazing sense of pleasure and light of being swept up in the story, in the world of it. An immersive world for them to come into, it puts the biggest smile on my face.” 

by ISABELLA HOLLAND

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