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Big Umbrella Festival Returns to Lincoln Center – A Weekend of Free Performances, Installations, and Participatory Activations for Young People and Families with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

September 16, 2022 - September 18, 2022

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts will welcome young audiences with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families for a free weekend of programming at Big Umbrella Festival from September 16-18, 2022! For three days, this campus-wide festival will feature performances, installations, workshops, and online content designed with and for neurodiverse audiences. Taking place both indoors and outdoors, families are invited to choose from four timed slots on Saturday and Sunday, plus a Friday night session dedicated to teens and young adults. This year, Big Umbrella Festival will feature innovative installations across Lincoln Center’s campus—including “Softy,” a transformation of the Josie Robertson Plaza into a soft and participatory environment with colorful outdoor cushions by Bryony Roberts Studio; “Word Play,” an interactive playground on Hearst Plaza by Ecosistema Urbano; and “Pneumaphone,” a collection of pneumatically driven sound sculptures on The Deck designed by Godfried-Willem Raes in collaboration with Logos Foundation. For tickets and more information please visit: https://www.lincolncenter.org/series/accessibility-at-lincoln-center/info/big-umbrella-ticketing.

The festival will also present exciting in-person performances by Dancing Wheels Company, Omnium Circus, and Bluelaces Theater Company, as well as an interactive WeBop Family Jazz Party concert from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Plus, audio theatre experience “Mountain Goat Mountain” (created by Zoë Barry, Liz Francis, Nikita Hederics, Tahli Corin, and Sarah Lockwood) will provide guided virtual activities for families to set up and step into their own imaginative worlds from home. ReelAbilities Film Festivalwill also offer four in-person film screenings on Lincoln Center’s main plaza, as well as virtual screenings available on LincolnCenter.org/BigUmbrella.

Launched in 2018, Big Umbrella Festival was the first festival of its kind dedicated to arts programs for young people on the autism spectrum and their families. In 2021, Lincoln Center presented Big Umbrella Outdoors—an extension of the original festival with a weekend of outdoor programming as part of Restart Stages.

All events at Big Umbrella Festival are Relaxed Performances, designed to be inclusive for guests with a range of sensory needs. We encourage guests to engage with events at their comfort level, in a supportive environment. Accommodations include:

Visual Guide, in English and Spanish, detailing directions, arrival instructions, and venue amenities with images.
All events are located on accessible routes and will include accessible entrances, restrooms, and seating.
Assistive listening devices with headsets and neck loops are available at all performances.
American Sign Language interpretation available for most performances and upon request.
Captioning available for some performances and upon request.
Audio description available for film events and upon request.
Chill out spaces are available, as well as noise-reducing headphones and fidgets at all event spaces.

If you require any additional accommodations, please contact access@lincolncenter.org or 212-875-5375.

Explore the full schedule of events below:
Big Umbrella Festival
Sept 16-18, various times
Please click here for full schedule, recommended ages per event, and ticketing info.

Dancing Wheels Company
Fri, Sept 16 at 6:00 pm; Sat, Sept 17 at 11:00am & 4:00 pm; Sun, Sept 18 at 11:00am & 4:00 pm
Josie Robertson Plaza and Clark Studio Theater
Under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the Dancing Wheels Company is recognized as the first and foremost professional physically integrated dance company in America uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities. The highly skilled ensemble of stand-up and sit-down (wheelchair) dancers will perform energetic dance excerpts, lead teaching demonstrations, and share their own personal stories to explore the diversity of dance, disability, and accessibility and feature works from the company’s diverse repertory.

Omnium Circus
Fri, Sept 16 at 7:00 pm; Sat, Sept 17 at 1:00 pm & 6:00 pm; Sun, Sept 18 at 1:00pm & 6:00 pm
Damrosch Park
Omnium Circus was founded on the belief that full inclusion and representation in the arts leads to self-actualization, increased tolerance, and a better society. It’s the first comprehensively inclusive and accessible circus performing arts company in the nation, bringing together a diverse cast of extraordinary talent from all over the globe. Multitalented and multi-abled, our stars transport audiences into a world of jaw-dropping spectacle and wonder, motivating them with extraordinary feats of human accomplishment and the astounding potential of the human spirit.

Fri, Sept 16 at 8:00 pm
Josie Robertson Plaza / Virtual, Sept 17-25
ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Join us for four short film screenings outdoors at Lincoln Center’s main plaza.

Softy by Bryony Roberts
Installation Design by Bryony Roberts Studio
Fri, Sept 16, Sat, Sept 17, & Sun, Sept 18, drop-in
Josie Robertson Plaza
Softy transforms the main plaza at Lincoln Center into a soft and interactive environment. Responding to the Revson Fountain and circular lines of the plaza, the project introduces colorful outdoor cushions that radiate out from the center, offering a range of social and sensory conditions. The cushions create concentrated areas for play and socializing around the fountain as well as more private areas around the edges for restorative moments, providing a quiet and soothing area away from the crowd.

Word Play by Ecosistema Urbano
Installation Design by Ecosistema Urbano
Fri, Sept 16, Sat, Sept 17, & Sun, Sept 18, drop-in
Hearst Plaza
Hearst Plaza will be transformed into a spontaneous playground whereby using letters, young people and their families will be able to experiment and create messages sharing their personal thoughts and ideas with the world. This is not an installation, but an experience. A way of connecting to those around you and beyond. An interactive activity that engages you physically and mentally. A framework for young people to express themselves and share their thoughts, dreams and expectations about the future.

by Logos Foundation
Fri, Sept 16, Sat, Sept 17, & Sun, Sept 18, drop-in
The Deck
Pneumaphone is a collection of pneumatically driven sound sculptures: flutes, single reeds, lips, reeds, double reeds, mirlitons, water organs, and bladder membranes make up the individual voice of each pneumaphone. By sitting, lying, rolling, or rocking on pillows, participants take part in music-making as the air from the pillows travels through the musical instrument. Presented in collaboration with Logos Foundation. Logos Foundation, founded in 1968, is a research and production center for experimental music, music robotics and audio art, based in Ghent, Belgium. The Pneumaphone installation is designed by Godfried-Willem Raes.

Mountain Goat Mountain
A Threshold experience, created by Zoë Barry, Liz Francis, Nikita Hederics, Tahli Corin, and Sarah Lockwood. These artists live and work on the land of the Taungurung people.
Fri, Sept 9 – Fri, Sept 25
Welcome to Mountain Goat Mountain, a magical and wonderful place—an audio theatre experience for families to do in their home together. With guided activities that help families set up and step into their own imaginative world, Mountain Goat Mountain provides space for creative connection through play and imagination. Explore tunnels, lava pits, and underwater caves in a journey that bumps you out of the ordinary and into a world where you work together to uncover its secrets and discover the hidden treasures in each other.

Bluelaces Theater Company
Emily Bruner & Leigh Poulos (Project Leads/Co-Directors)
Fri, Sept 16, Sat, Sept 17, & Sun, Sept 18, drop-in
David Rubenstein Atrium
Join us at the David Rubenstein Atrium for an inclusive intergenerational dance party and let loose with friends—old and new. Inside Scribble, our Doodle Masters will populate the walls with imagery inspired by you as our DJs spin a mix of your requests. Scribble is a celebration of connection, self-expression, and the universal language of art. Come make your mark!

WeBop Family Jazz Party: New Orleans Jazz Jam
Presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Sat, Sept 17 at 12:00 pm & 5:00 pm; Sun, Sept 18 at 12:00 pm & 5:00pm
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
Join us for an imaginary trip to the birthplace of jazz as we swing and sway to the joyful sounds of the Big Easy! We’ll parade in a traditional New Orleans “second line”, dance to upbeat tunes like “Happy Feet Blues,” scat sing like the incomparable Louis Armstrong, and much more. Le bon temps rouler! This fun, interactive concert will engage the whole family. Let the good times roll and enjoy an afternoon of music, movement, and imagination!

New York City Ballet Access Workshop
Sat, Sept 17 at 2:30 pm
NYCB Rehearsal Studios
FREE (advance registration required)
Join the artists of New York City Ballet in this one-hour movement workshop designed especially for children with autism and developmental disabilities and their families. Children will be guided in a warm-up and choreography inspired by a featured ballet from NYCB’s repertory.

About Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is the steward of the world’s leading performing arts center, an artistic and civic cornerstone for New York City comprised of eleven resident companies on a 16-acre campus. The nonprofit’s strategic priorities include: supporting the arts organizations that call Lincoln Center home to realize their missions and fostering opportunities for collaboration across campus; championing inclusion and increasing the accessibility and reach of Lincoln Center’s work; and reimagining and strengthening the performing arts for the 21st century and beyond, helping ensure their rightful place at the center of civic life.

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September 16, 2022
September 18, 2022


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