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August 17, 2015

Lincoln Center Education Announces Dates for World Premiere of "Up And Away," an Original, Multi-Sensory Theatrical Experience for Audiences on the Autism Spectrum (September 29-October 25, 2015)

Lincoln Center News

Contact: Eric M. Gewirtz


[email protected]


Lincoln Center Education Announces Dates for World Premiere of

Up And Away, an Original, Multi-Sensory, Theatrical Experience

Commissioned by Lincoln Center Education and

Designed For Audiences on the Autism Spectrum and their Families


Performances for School Groups and Families Take Place

September 29–October 25, 2015

Created and Performed by New York’s Trusty Sidekick Theater Company


NEW YORK, NY (August 17, 2015) — As part of its 40th anniversary year, Lincoln Center Education (LCE), a global leader in the field of arts education, announces performance dates for world premiere production of Up and Away, an original and commissioned multi-sensory theatrical experience specifically for young audiences on the autism spectrum. Following   previews with test audiences earlier this year, New York-based Trusty Sidekick Theater Company will offer 32 performances of Up and Away, from September 29–October 25, at Lincoln Center’s intimate Clark Studio Theater with 16 for school groups and 16 open to the general public. The school performances are at 11:00 a.m. every Tuesday-Friday during the run, and public performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.


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 production features an immersive 360-degree installation design, with the audience seated in hot-air balloon seating units as they join the Fogg Family Balloon Society on their 1000th balloon ride. Featuring puppetry, live music, and interactive-play, this “flight” travels through extraordinary places such as the Fog Bog, the Arctic Aviary, and Cloud Canyon, each with multi-sensory experiences. Each child in the audience has a one-on-one guide from the Fogg Family for the trip through the clouds. Along the way, they find that sometimes it’s not about the destination, as much as it is the experience of the journey.


Given the wide range of needs in the audience, and the challenges that young people with autism face in connecting with the world around them, the show is offered to eight audience members at a time (in addition to up to two accompanying caregivers) and features one-to-one interaction (each child is paired with an actor for the duration of the show). This allows the show truly to reach each child and to be uniquely tailored to their individual needs. The show was designed to address the cognitive abilities and behavioral patterns of an audience with autism within the structure of the experience: a map of the journey they can follow through the show, physical and verbal repetition, multi-sensory engagement throughout, and music to score the entire experience. A social story video is available in advance to help introduce the show before arrival. During the performance, if needed, a quiet space will be available adjacent to the performance area for any children needing a break from the action.


Up and Away, commissioned by LCE for the New York-based Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, marks the first time a major cultural institution has commissioned an original work of this nature for this audience. While theater companies have begun offering “sensory-friendly” programming and/or adapted versions of existing theatrical works, Up and Away was created for an audience with autism in mind for all aspects of the production: script, design and experience. LCE and Trusty Sidekick engaged consultants Tim and Amanda Webb of the UK-based theater group Oily Cart, a pioneering organization that creates theatrical and performance works for young audiences with complex disabilities. Over a two-year period, the members of Trusty Sidekick developed ideas for the work, and then engaged in workshops with children who eventually attended preview performances. This personal and direct interaction proved integral to the creation process, allowing Trusty Sidekick to test ideas, while also developing comfortable and trusting relationships with this first audience.


“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.”


“We are delighted to launch 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 officially premiere this new production crafted especially with young people on the autism spectrum in mind.”


> Video about experience:

> Video about process of and production:


Production photos of Up and Away are available upon request.


Tickets for Up and Away are available on a limited basis. Tickets for public performances are available as of September 1. To request tickets to any of the public performances, please visit The show is recommended for ages 5 and up.


LC Kids members at the $125 level (or higher) can request tickets starting August 17, 2015. See for more details.


Support for Lincoln Center Education programs for students on the autism spectrum is provided by John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust and Ann and Thomas Unterberg.


About Lincoln Center Education

Entering its 40th year, 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 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.


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 offers 15 series, festivals, and programs including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Artist Program, Great PerformersLincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, Martin E. Segal Awards, Meet the Artist, Mostly Mozart Festival, and the White Light Festival, as well as the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. For more information:


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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High Resolution Images Return to Top

Up and Away production photo
Caption: Up and Away
Photo Credit: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
Size: 2048x1365
Up and Away production photo
Caption: Up and Away
Photo Credit: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
Size: 5760x3840
Up and Away production photo
Caption: Up and Away
Photo Credit: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
Size: 5345x3563
"Up And Away"
Caption: Graphic for "Up And Away," a Lincoln Center Education Comission
Photo Credit: Lincoln Center Education
Size: 508x410

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