There are just 4 days left to enter Pediatric Alliance’s annual ticket contest to see Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Here is a review from one lucky winner last year:

“Thank you so much for the tickets to The Nutcracker. My daughter absolutely loved the show! She is autistic and has developmental delays so her attention span is very low. But when she goes to the ballet she can sit there for hours! This sensory-friendly performance is quite a gift to her.”


The feedback we have received over the years from other attendees of this very special and unique performance of a holiday classic has been uniformly positive. Another review from 2014’s performance:

“We had a great time. [My son] liked the first act — the Christmas party with showing all the gifts. [My daughter] loved the solo with the ballerina in the second act. She loved the music and stood up and started dancing.  It was very cute see her having fun and enjoying the music!”


This reviewer said the fun started even before the curtain rose at the 2013 performance:

“Once we got to the Benedum, we were greeted at the door by not only the ticket takers but also some lovely volunteers offering squishy sensory toys to those that would like one, and then pleasantly guiding us to the coat check, our general seat direction, and all the activities downstairs. This just proves that even with many people and lots of things going on, a little bit of organization goes a long way. [Our son] and his siblings had the opportunity to get their picture taken with the sugar plum fairy, relax on bean bag chairs, listen to a cellist, dance around, and also make a small nutcracker craft. Once we found our seats – which were really spectacular – we talked about the dancers and the show synopsis. We read the program, examined the very detailed ceiling, and talked about the Nutcracker clock at the top of the stage. The show started with softer than typical music, dimmed lights rather than a complete black out, and a few quiet ooo’s and giggles from the all the kids.”


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has more information posted on its website:

What makes it “sensory-friendly?”

These performances feature a friendly, supportive environment for families with a loved one with special needs. Adaptations to the performance are slight, including:

  • lower sound levels
  • elimination of potentially startling special effects and lighting
  • house lights on at about 20%


PLUS, at this performance we have

  • relaxed house rules–you are free to get up, move around, and leave whenever you need to
  • allowed use of iPads and other electronics for therapeutic uses
  • volunteers scattered throughout the theater to assist and direct audience members as needed
  • quiet areas and activity areas in the lobby for taking a break
  • fidget objects and ear plugs available
  • trained staff, dancers, ushers and volunteers


Don’t forget that in addition to the sensory-friendly performance on December 26, PBT will present 23 more performances of The Nutcracker this holiday season, all with a little taste of Pittsburgh history:

Complete with flurrying snow, a colossal Christmas tree and magic tricks galore, this holiday spectacular features over 100 dancers, 150 costumes and Tchaikovsky’s exultant score. Since its 1892 premiere, The Nutcracker has held a special place in holiday traditions all over the world. PBT adds its own spin on the time and place with a turn-of-the-century setting incorporating Pittsburgh’s own landmarks, historical figures and personality. Each performance features a unique casting combination, giving regulars the chance to see a variety of dancers perform iconic roles like Marie, the Nephew, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.


Here are the details on how to enter our ticket contest for this very special sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker:


What: Sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker performed by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

When: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm.

Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Who: This contest is open to patients of Pediatric Alliance who would enjoy this special sensory-friendly performance. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre recognizes that this needs to be a safe event for our families. Therefore, each group attending must have at least one member with special needs, including sensory sensitivities or autism spectrum disorder.


How to Enter the Pediatric Alliance Ticket Contest:

Type the following information in the comments box below this post (this information will not be shared):

— Parent Name and Email address
— Child’s Name
— Number of tickets desired (2-6 per family)

OR, you can email the information above to

(In order to respect your privacy, we discourage entering this contest via Facebook. But please keep up with our daily PediaBlog posts on Pediatric Alliance’s Facebook page!)


We will accept one entry per family per day, but you can enter every day until we pick the winners!

Winners will be picked randomly on Thursday, December 14, 2017, so we can get tickets to families before the performance.


(Google Images)