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December 04, 2014

Lincoln Center Education Commissions "Up And Away," an Original Theatrical Experience Designed For Audiences on the Autism Spectrum and their Families

Lincoln Center News

December 4, 2014

Contact: Eric M. Gewirtz


[email protected]

Lincoln Center Education Commissions

Up And Away,

An Original Theatrical Experience

Designed For Audiences on the Autism Spectrum and their Families

New York’s Trusty Sidekick Theater Company

To Preview This Multi-Sensory Performance

April 29—May 3, 2015

Lincoln Center Education, a global leader in the field of arts education, today announced it has commissioned Trusty Sidekick Theater Company to conceive and create Up and Away, an original, multi-sensory theatrical experience specifically for young audiences on the autism spectrum. The announcement of this unique work was made by Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education (LCE). Up and Away’s limited-run of preview performances will take place April 29—May 3, 2015 at Lincoln Center’s intimate Clark Studio Theater, with designated performances for special needs classes from New York City public schools and additional weekend performances available to select audiences. The premiere performances of Up and Away are scheduled for Fall 2015, and will be open to the general public.

While many theaters have adapted their work for autism-friendly performances, this commission will result in an original work that is specially created for the needs and imaginations of children on the autism spectrum. To create Up and Away, LCE and Trusty Sidekick engaged consultants Tim and Amanda Webb of the UK-based theater group Oily Cart, a pioneering organization which creates theatrical and performance works for young audiences with complex disabilities. Over the next few months, Up and Away will be developed through a workshop process with children attending the eventual performances. Integral to these presentations will be ensuring the engagement and comfort of both the children and their caregivers (parents, teachers, or others).

Noted Granet: “Commissioning this work is, for Lincoln Center Education, a natural extension of the commitment Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has made to accessibility in all its forms. In the capable hands of Trusty Sidekick, one of the city’s leading theatrical companies dedicated to creating innovative work for young people, Up and Away is sure to provide a high-quality arts experience for young people on the autism spectrum and their families.”

Up and Away is at once a story and an interactive experience, inspired loosely by the imagination of Jules Verne and his famous book Around the World in 80 Days. The audience will arrive at the Lincoln Center venue’s elevators for a “ride to the sky” as if they are about to set off on a hot air balloon journey to see, feel, smell, and experience the wonders of the world above the clouds. Once in the theater space, children, and adults will sit in specially designed baskets and embark on an adventure filled with puppetry, projection, and music. Each performance of Up and Away will be presented for an audience of approximately eight children and their accompanying caregivers. In addition, a quiet space will be available near the theater for any children needing a break from the action.

“We are delighted to embark on this groundbreaking collaboration with Lincoln Center Education,” said Trusty Sidekick Artistic Director Jonathan Shmidt Chapman. “Very few opportunities exist for children with autism to experience live performance specifically designed for them and their needs. Trusty Sidekick believes in creating theater experiences in which all kids can feel like heroes setting out on epic journeys, and we're thrilled to craft a new production especially with young people on the autism spectrum in mind.”

Leading up to the preview performances of Up and Away, Lincoln Center Education will devote a “Next Stage” presentation on February 19 to explore creating work for a rapidly growing area of art access: young audiences on the autistic spectrum. Russell Granet will moderate a panel featuring Tim Webb, Artistic Director of Oily Cart, and Jonathan Shmidt Chapman of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company at Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater at 6:00 p.m. More details will be announced at a later date.

About Lincoln Center Education

Lincoln Center Education (LCE) is a global leader in arts education and advocacy and the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center, the world’s largest performing arts complex. LCE is committed to enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, via digital platforms, and within the community. Founded in 1975 as the Lincoln Center Institute, LCE has nearly four decades of unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory. LCE has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors, and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit

About Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA’s series include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, and the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations. In addition, LCPA led a series of major capital projects, now complete, on behalf of the resident organizations across the campus. For more information, visit or

About Trusty Sidekick

Based in New York City, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company creates bold, original productions for young people and their families. Rooted firmly in the belief that kids deserve theater that ignites their imaginations and makes them think about the world in a new way, the Company produces theater that is multidisciplinary, and its ensemble of collaborators includes artists trained in physical theater, puppetry, music, dance, animation, design, and video projection. Hailed by The New York Times for “blur[ring] the boundaries between the imagined and the real,” Trusty Sidekick often creates performances in unconventional spaces, including a settlement house in the Lower East Side, an island in New York Harbor, and a Revolutionary War-era battleground. In addition to its site-specific work, the Company creates work built especially for very young audiences aged 2-5, including the critically-acclaimed production Shadow Play. Experimenting with new and exciting ways for audiences of all ages to interact with live performance, Trusty Sidekick redefines the theatrical experience for a new generation. For more information on Trusty Sidekick, visit

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