FORT LAUDERDALE – The Broward Center for the Performing Arts once again presents a season with a variety of accessibility options that help make attending live performing arts enjoyable and inclusive for everyone.
Audiences are encouraged to order early and to specifically request seating for wheelchair access, easy access transfer or swing arm seats, sign-interpreted, audio described or open-captioned performances when placing their orders. A new sensory-inclusive series is making the theater welcoming for all, and classes for the neurodiverse continue to grow.
Among the Broward Center staff that help create and promote new accessibility initiatives is Community Engagement Manager Gustavo Padrino who recently received a prestigious LEAD® Award for Emerging Leaders from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which acknowledges individuals who successfully open doors to and shape cultural arts opportunities that are inclusive of people with disabilities.
“We are proud to be a leader in providing inclusive theater experiences to the South Florida community,” said Jan Goodheart, Vice President of External Affairs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. “We are consistently looking for new ways to meet the needs of those who might require special assistance or accommodations in order to enjoy live entertainment experiences at our venues and listening to a wide range of stakeholders to make sure we are getting it right. The positive feedback we are getting from our community has inspired our whole organization.”
Programs for the deaf and hard of hearing
The Bank of America Broadway in Fort Lauderdale Series offers performances with a sign language interpreter of Annie (Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.), Funny Girl (Nov. 24 at 8 p.m.), The Book of Mormon (Dec. 15 at 8 p.m.), Hadestown (Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.), Moulin Rouge! TheMusical (March 15 at 8 p.m.), Mrs. Doubtfire (April 19 at 8 p.m.) and Clue (June 14 at 8 p.m.).
Select performances offer open caption performances in which spoken dialogue scrolls across a digital screen as the action occurs on stage in open captioned performances. The Bank of America Broadway in Fort Lauderdale Series offers open captioned performances of Annie (Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.), Funny Girl (Nov. 25 at 2 p.m.), The Book of Mormon (Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.), Hadestown (Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.), Moulin Rouge! The Musical (March 16 at 2 p.m.), Mrs. Doubtfire (April 20 at 2 p.m.) and Clue (June 15 at 2 p.m.). Slow Burn Theatre Company presents open captioned performances of Into the Woods (Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Dec. 24 at 2 p.m.), Sister Act (Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.), The Prom (March 31 at 2 p.m.) and The SpongeBob Musical (June 15 at 2 p.m.). The open captioned performances of Slow Burn Theatre productions this season are generously underwritten by the Amaturo Family Foundation.
Assistive Listening Devices are available in all performance spaces. These devices amplify and clarify sound for patrons who are hard of hearing. There is no charge for the use of the headset. Those wishing to use one of these headsets at a performance should visit the Guest Services Desk or ask any Guest Services Manager or Front of House personnel in the lobby.
Programs for the blind and low vision
Offered at select performances, trained audio describers provide a live description of the action and visual elements of the performance to audience members through assistive listening devices. The Bank of America Broadway in Fort Lauderdale Series offers performances with audio description of Annie (Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.), Funny Girl (Nov. 25 at 2 p.m.), The Book of Mormon (Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.), Hadestown (Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.), Moulin Rouge! TheMusical (March 16 at 2 p.m.), Mrs. Doubtfire (April 20 at 2 p.m.) and Clue (June 15 at 2 p.m.). Miami City Ballet offers performances with audio description of Fall Mix 1 (Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.), George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.), Winter Mix 2 (Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.), and Alexei Ratmansky’s Swan Lake (April 28 at 2 p.m.) Florida Grand Opera offers audio described performances for La Traviata (Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.), I Pagliacci (Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.) and La Boheme (May 4 at 7:30 p.m.).
Florida Grand Opera offers large print and braille librettos for La Traviata (Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.), I Pagliacci (Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.) and La Bohème (May 4 at 7:30 p.m.)
Touch Tours are available at a limited number of performances and begin one hour prior to the scheduled performance. For more information or to make a reservation for a touch tour, call 954.468.3305 or email accessibility@BrowardCenter.org.
Programs for the Neurodiverse Community
No experience is necessary to enjoy monthly All Abilities classes announced throughout the season. These interactive and engaging arts experiences are led by teaching artists and followed by refreshments. All Abilities classes are made possible with support from the Taft Foundation.
The Sensory-Inclusive Series creates a welcoming and supportive environment for children and adults on the autism spectrum as well as individuals with other sensitivity issues or developmental disabilities. Slight adjustments have been made to the production including reduced sound levels, no flashing or strobe lights and minimal special effects. An area adjacent to the theater has been designated as the ABA Centers of Florida Sensory Quiet Room with a specially trained therapist to provide audience support.
Patrons may bring their own headphones, fidgets and other calming items into the theater. The Broward Center also offers sensory-bags for all performances at Broward Center and the Parker, that contain noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses, fidgets, and sunglasses clips to accommodate families that might be overwhelmed by the lights, sounds, and crowds. Sensory-bags can be requested at the front of house desk.
Admission to sensory-inclusive performances in the Amaturo Theater includes complimentary pre-show arts and crafts activities provided by Young at Art Museum. Audiences enjoy a post-show meet and greet with cast members after every sensory-inclusive performance. Ticket buyers will receive an email prior to the performance with a link to a character guide and short video about attending the theater.
The 2023/2024 Sensory-Inclusive Series features The Tales of Custard the Dragon (Nov. 18), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Dec. 23), The Ugly Duckling (Feb. 4), Brazilian Voices Quiet Bossa (March 17), Junie B. Jones (April 20) and The Magic of Kevin Spencer (April 27). At the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center in Aventura, the Sensory-Inclusive Series features the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 9. Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida will be donating their proceeds from this performance to SOVENIA USA.
The Broward Center’s sensory-inclusive programming is made possible through the generous support of ABA Centers of Florida, The Batchelor Foundation, The Gore Family Memorial Foundation Trust, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and The Taft Foundation with special thanks to UM-NSU CARD for their in-kind support.
Theater and website access
All facilities feature ADA-approved signage, handrails and automatic door openers. The Wayne and Marti Huizenga Family Skywalk connects the Arts & Entertainment Parking Garage with the Horvitz Lobby in the Au-Rene Theater. The skywalk entrance provides protection from the elements and easy access for patrons with disabilities. A second entry is located at the bottom of the driveway entrance, immediately across from the Arts & Entertainment Parking Garage. Patrons with limited mobility may be dropped off in front of the Au-Rene and Amaturo Theaters via the front driveway. The drop-off point allows for access to all event and meeting spaces.
The Broward Center has a limited number of wheelchairs available at no charge. Please ask any Guest Services Manager or Front of House personnel for assistance. Wheelchair accessible and companion/family restrooms are located throughout the Broward Center. Please ask any Guest Services Manager or Front of House personnel for locations.
Accessible seating is available and can be limited. Accessible seating may be purchased by calling 954.462.0222 or 800.359.2525(TTY). Wheelchair seating may also be purchased online at browardcenter.org. Look for the Request Accessible Tickets button on the event purchase page. Those purchasing wheelchair accessible seating may purchase one (1) wheelchair accessible seat and up to three (3) companion seats. Any additional seats must be purchased in the regular seating areas.
Service animals as defined by the American with Disabilities Act are permitted into the theaters and must remain on a leash or in a harness at all times. A service animal must sit under the guest’s seat or at his/her feet. Service animals are not permitted to sit in the aisle or on seats. A guest whose service animal poses a threat to the safety of other Broward Center guests and/or staff may be asked to escort the animal off the premises.
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to its websites. In recognition of this commitment, it is in the process of making modifications to increase the accessibility and usability, using the relevant portions of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) as its standard. Those experiencing difficulty using the website, or with a particular web page or function should call 954.468.3305 use the Contact Us online form or email email@example.com.
Ticketmaster is the only official ticketing service of the Broward Center and The Parker. Buy tickets online at BrowardCenter.org, or Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222; in person at the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office.
The Broward Center 2023/2024 season is supported by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation. AutoNation, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Spirit and UHealth University of Miami Health System. Programs are also sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Division of Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About The Broward Center for the Performing Arts
One of America’s premier performing arts venues, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts presents more than 700 performances each year to more than 700,000 patrons, showcasing a wide range of exciting cultural programming and events. Guest experiences at the Broward Center include the all-inclusive Spirit Club Level, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Intermezzo Lounge, special events in the Huizenga Pavilion, waterfront dining at Marti’s New River Bistro and innovative classes and workshops for all ages at the Rose Miniaci Arts Education Center. With one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the United States, the Broward Center serves more than 100,000 students annually. The Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. receives and maintains funds to sustain, develop and secure the future of the Broward Center. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit BrowardCenter.org.