Bryce Alexander became artistic director at The Naples Players in October 2016 after a stint in Denver at a semi-professional theater company for actors with disabilities.
NI: What’s your vision for The Naples Players?
Alexander: Integrating professional quality and community engagement with inclusive theater, and to be able to show the rest of the country what you can do. We are connecting with a [new] set of audiences by implementing sensory-friendly elements for children and adults specifically with disabilities.
NI: How do you accomplish that?
Alexander:We started with sensory-friendly classes. We made it a welcoming environment and took away financial strain with scholarships. This season, we will progress to sensory-friendly performances for two of our shows—December 19 for Miracle on 34th Street and April 3 for Music Man. Wekeep theater lights on at all times during those performances. We limit audience capacity, regulate temperature and decibel readings, and don’t have a lot of actors entering the stage. We have sensory guides that list potential stimulating elements and what time they’ll happen. It’s sort of the opposite of what a big performance should look like, but it’s very impactful.
NI: What else are you planning this season?
Alexander: Besides those two shows, we have six more, all with great diversity. The theme this year is finding community harmony and what it means to fit in. For the first time, we’re doing free performances of Taming of the Shrew outside on the plaza. They will include workshops that discuss gender roles and violence, and how to be what we call “upstanders” in the community