We offer a growing suite of inclusive programs that are designed for artists, students, and audiences of all abilities.
Removing barriers to provide access.
Ensemble Theatre is committed to making sure everyone can relax and enjoy our performances to their fullest and participate in classrooms in ways they feel the most comfortable.
Our Education, Engagement, and Inclusion staff bring year-round inclusive programs to schools and organizations throughout the Greater Cincinnati region, providing students the opportunity to go from observer to active contributor.
Focusing on the social model of disability and utilizing People First language, we believe in removing or reducing physical and external barriers, individualizing communication needs, and providing accommodations to participation in theatre. Through our programs, we ensure that equity and access are embedded within the creative learning process.
Explore our expanding list of inclusive programs and learn about how your organization or school can work with our team of trained and experienced teaching artists.
Email our Education, Engagement, and Inclusion Department or call (513) 421-3555 x2110.
“Thank you for including students with special needs in Cincinnati’s art scene. It makes our students feel special when they are included in field trips and having visitors come to the room.” —Teacher, Aiken New Tech High School
Hunter Heartbeat Program
The research-based Hunter Heartbeat Method uses theatre to break through communication and social blocks that challenge students with autism and developmental disabilities and helps students reach their full potential by improving their ability to participate successfully in everyday interactions.
By concentrating on Shakespearean texts, participants can express themselves and explore eye contact, language skills, spatial relationship, turn-taking, emotional recognition, and imaginative play. Students work one-on-one with Ensemble’s teaching artists, gaining a better understanding of cooperative play and an increased awareness of social norms.
The program operates throughout the school year and our accessible facility allows us to provide continuous scheduling through the summer. Sessions are typically 30-45 minutes long, each week for a three- to nine-month commitment and are customized to students’ needs.
“We have a student who really doesn’t like social interaction and communicates mostly in one-word responses. He engages totally with Hunter Heartbeat.” —Teacher, Stepping Stones
“This is a unique and awesome program…I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It is a very refreshing program that the children and teachers look forward to.” —Teacher, Roll Hill Elementary
Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all theatre patrons with autism or with other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities.
These performances create a comfortable, inclusive, and fun environment to enjoy the performance in the way that is best for each individual.
To learn more, including how to request tickets, please visit our Sensory-Friendly Performances page.
This in-school residency allows students to write, design, rehearse, and perform their own play, and is a fun, interactive, hands-on introduction to theatre. Prelude engages students to be active arts participants and work collectively, encouraging creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Our teaching artists customize each residency to fit every school’s academic priorities, aligning lesson plans with the classroom teacher’s assessment of students’ IEPs and individual goals.
Photo credits | Accessibility, Phil Fiorini and Nathan Robert Pecchia in Fly by Night (Ryan Kurtz); Fairy Godmother Program, Cast of Sleeping Beauty (Ryan Kurtz)
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Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati relies on hundreds of donors each season to help create extraordinary and socially-relevant productions of the highest artistic caliber and programs that challenge, excite and engage audiences.