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Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at 11 am

New York, NY - Big Apple Circus has joined with world-renowned Autism Spectrum Disorders experts to adapt The Grand Tour for families with members on the spectrum and create a joyful experience for all. The adapted show includes the same world-class artistry as the full performance with a shorter running time, adjusted lights and sound, a calming center, pictorial social narratives, and specially trained staff and volunteers to ensure a memorable event for everyone!

The Grand Tour transports audiences to the Roaring 1920s, the advent of the modern travel era, when the most adventuresome began to tour the world in ships, planes, trains, and automobiles. With every seat less than 50 feet from the stage, audiences will be awed by the world-class entertainers as they perform breathtaking acts from the four corners of the globe. Clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America appear with ponies, puppies, and more; the troupe sets off on its whirlwind adventure, accompanied by the live, seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band at each of more than 100 performances.

This special performance, a 75-minute abbreviated show, will take place on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at 11. All tickets to this performance are half-price ($12.50-$37.50). For tickets, please visit

"Thank you so much for taking the time to alter the regular show to accommodate children with special needs. This was the first circus that we were able to take my niece Gianna to and it was all thanks to Big Apple Circus! Thank you again!" - Preston House

"I did notice some of the changes, like the house lights and the clown doctors, but I was impressed with how subtle the other adjustments were. I felt like nothing was lost in the performance quality, so for some acts, I wondered how it was different from the standard show. Congratulations!" - Ladan Hamidi Toosi, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

For wheelchair or special seating needs, please call customer service at 800.922.3772. For more information about accessibility at every Big Apple Circus performance, please visit

Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism performances are supported in part by the Frank J. Antun Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, James T. Lee Foundation, Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, The Rudin Foundations, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Shubert Foundation, AXA Foundation, Bank Leumi, Moody's Foundation, and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Additional support was provided by Big Apple Circus members.

The Grand Tour runs from October 21, 2015, to January 10, 2016. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit

"Awe-Inspiring!" - The New York Times

"There's no shortage of thrills...Fun for all!" - New York Post

"The Finest Up-Close Circus in America." - Variety

"America's Best Circus for Children" - Parents Magazine

Four-time Big Apple Circus ringmaster John Kennedy Kane returns to introduce a variety of stunning performers: clowns Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth; third-generation circus animal trainer Jenny Vidbel with her pony and dog acts; aerialist Sergey Akimov; international juggling sensation Alexander Koblikov; ninth-generation circus performer Chiara Anastasini with hula hoops; the Dominguez Brothers defying the law of gravity with their thrill-filled act featuring the Wheel of Wonder; Chinese hand balancers The Energy Trio; the African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma; and the Dosov Troupe soaring on the teeterboard.

The Grand Tour, conceived and created by Joel Jeske, is directed by Mark Lonergan (artistic director of Parallel Exit, the three-time Drama Desk Award-nominated physical theater company) with associate director and choreographer Antoinette DiPietropolo. Musical direction by Rob Slowik with clown material created and directed by Joel Jeske. Set and lighting design by Maruti Evans, costume design by Oana Botez, and props design by Katie Fleming.

As a nonprofit performing arts institution, the Big Apple Circus is committed not only to thrilling audiences in the ring but also to bringing the joy and wonder of the circus into the community. Big Apple Circus creates direct, shared connections inside its one-ring Big Top AND in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, in its New York City home, and cities across America.

"These performers, many from circus dynasties, preserve an important tradition, reinforced by the nonprofit Big Apple Circus's commendable community-service activities, notably the Clown Care program, which entertains hospitalized children. This company ... doesn't only have awe-inspiring acrobatic skills; it has a lot of heart, too."

- The New York Times, 2014 Critics' Pick

Big Apple Circus Clown Care® brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 15 leading pediatric facilities across the United States. Performers collaborate with doctors and staff to design a program to fit the needs of each hospital. Members of the Clown Care team bring the healing power of humor to children with acute and chronic illnesses, visiting nearly 225,000 young patients every year.

Big Apple Circus offers a specially adapted performance of the show, Circus of the Senses, for children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and/or other disabilities. American Sign Language interpreters are positioned in spotlights throughout the tent, and wireless audio headsets transmit a live audio play-by-play description of the action in the ring. Braille or large-print descriptive programs are available for audience members. A "touch session" after the show offers a unique opportunity for pre-selected groups of visually impaired children to go into the ring to meet the artists and feel a clown nose, a juggler's clubs, or the silky coat of a performing dog.

Circus for All!® distributes free and subsidized tickets to schools and nonprofit organizations serving low-income children and families, enabling many of them to experience the excitement and wonder of the circus for the very first time.

Circus After School®teaches kids life skills such as teamwork, responsible risk-taking, and perseverance, through a structured program of learning and performing circus arts.

About Big Apple Circus

(Will Maitland Weiss, Executive Director; Guillaume Dufresnoy, Artistic Director)

Big Apple Circus is a New York institution with national impact, embraced by generations since co-founders Paul Binder and Michael Christensen brought their juggling act from the streets of Europe home to New York in 1977. The Circus's mission is to engage the communities we serve through the joy and wonder of classic circus arts. We create direct, shared connections inside our one-ring Big Top AND in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, in our New York City home, and cities across America.

Each year, Big Apple Circus mounts a new show, including new acts, a new theme, and a new creative team. All acts are presented in our traditional single ring, with no seat more than 50 feet from the action, in our climate-controlled Big Top.

At Big Apple Circus, what happens outside the ring is as important as what happens within it: In the coming year, 30,000 low-income families will benefit from tickets to the show through CIRCUS FOR ALL!; 225,000 children will be visited by CLOWN CARE Clown Doctors; 10,000 seniors in residential care facilities will experience the delight of VAUDEVILLE VISITS; 10,000 children and their families will enjoy the CIRCUS OF THE SENSES performances adapted for children with impaired hearing and vision, and those touched by autism; and CIRCUS AFTER SCHOOL will teach 100 children in East Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn how to juggle, walk on stilts, pirouette in the air on silks-and to develop teamwork, commitment, self-confidence, and other life skills. For more information, visit

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