Dublin City Council Launch Sensoria – The First Ever Neurodivergent Friendly Festival In Ireland

Dublin City Council (DCC) has launched Sensoria – Ireland’s first-ever Neurodivergent Friendly Festival. Sensoria is a celebration of the neurodiverse community through a considered and creative live outdoor event experience in Merrion Square Park, D2 on Sunday 28th April as part of World Autism Month. This free ticketed event takes place over two sessions – 11am-1:30pm and 2:30-5pm and tickets will be available to reserve free of charge HERE on Eventbrite from Tuesday April 2nd at 10am.

Following consultation with leading experts in the area of neurodiversity and special needs including AsIAm and Neurodiversity Ireland, Sensoria is a uniquely curated event which aims to bring about neurodiversity acceptance, equality and inclusion in a safe and open environment.

“I am delighted to launch today, the first-ever festival for neurodivergent families in Ireland. It is every parent’s and child’s right to enjoy public events. Through consultation with experts in the area of neurodiversity, we have created a space of acceptance, calm and understanding and designed a special, relevant programme of performances, workshops and activities which will be inspirational and entertaining for neurodiverse families. I look forward to this becoming an annual event as part of our plan to make Dublin a Neurodivergent Friendly City” says Daithí de Róiste, Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Highlights of the Main Stage include two performances specially commissioned for Sensoria: ‘Squish, Stomp, Spin – The Magic of Stim’ a world premiere performance by ADHD artist Moss Russell from Cork and ‘Stories from the Half Light: The Fairy Tale Films of Lottie Reineger’ which are sensory silent films with a new live score by composer Matthew Nolan accompanied by Sharon Phelan and Ellie O’Neill. Go Dance for Change, a cross-cultural collaborative platform using dance, The Meeting Place Club, a centre for young people with special needs in Finglas and Rejoice Gospel Choir will also perform on the Main Stage.

The interactive Workshop & Performance Tent features ‘Voyage’, a Sensory Movement Workshop by Jess Rowell Dance, ‘Dublin as an Inclusive City’ an insightful panel discussion hosted by Dublin Lord Mayor Daithí de Róiste on his vision for making Dublin a Neurodivergent Friendly City and autistic writer Caoimh Connolly Murphy with a presentation on Spell 2 Communicate, his unique method of communication along with a poetry performance. Óga Yoga brings creative, practical and fun yoga to children through the exploration of mindful movement and meditative stillness. Outdoor Drawing Workshops will be hosted by Dublin City Hugh Lane Gallery and Little Gem Puppets, bringing us the family favourite show Little Red Riding Hood.

The Dublin City Council Sensoria Street Theatre zone focuses on non-verbal street theatre performances which will have particular relevance and appeal for neurodivergent families. Acts on stage include Siolta Circus with ‘On Tish’, Symmetry Circus with ‘What’s Watt’ and Mr H performing acrobatics and juggling. Tumble Circus outdoor aerial circus will perform two shows over the day and roaming acts to enjoy on the go include ‘Out of the Blue’ subversive and interactive circus show about doing the laundry by leading Italian female clown Fra Martó, comic clown Marcel So What, vibrant samba ensemble Morro 16 and CÓRus Choir, Ireland’s largest adult singing group.

“We are so delighted to be a part of the Dublin City Council Sensoria Festival. Everyone deserves the same chance to enjoy the cultural life of our capital city and yet too often festivals, family days out and other special occasions in the life of our communities can leave Autistic and neurodivergent people behind. This festival not only seeks to address the invisible but very real barriers our community faces but also prioritises the support needs, experiences and preferences of our community. Building on the incredible success of the relaxed space at this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade, Dublin City Council Sensoria is another important step on Dublin’s journey to being recognised as the world’s first Autism Friendly Capital City” says Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAm.

“Embracing neurodiversity is not just a choice, it’s a celebration of the unique strengths and diverse perspectives of each individual.  Neurodiversity Ireland is delighted to support Dublin City Council’s neurodivergent family-friendly festival ‘Sensoria’. This event gives neurodivergent people and their families the opportunity to celebrate their uniqueness, and to experience a festival in a neuro-affirming, safe environment.” says Emma Weld-Moore, Volunteer, Neurodiversity Ireland.

(Source: Dublin City Council)

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