Dec. 11, 2018

Low-sensory Screening of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Scheduled at The Tull Family Theater for Patrons with Autism, Special Needs

WHAT: On Saturday, Dec. 22, at 11 a.m., an inclusive, low-sensory screening of Mary Poppins Returns will offer the option for families and children impacted by autism and other special needs to watch the new release together at The Tull Family Theater.

Because some residents have conditions that might make the movie-going experience overwhelming, their families often are unable to attend films together. This inclusive low-sensory screening, open to all with sensory sensitivities and special needs, will use the industry’s best practices to minimize stimuli:

  • Dim house lights will remain on
  • The film volume will be lowered
  • A screening room door will remain open.

For much of the run-time, the low-sensory screening will be the only activity in the Theater. Staffing levels will be increased to allow a personalized experience for filmgoers.

Through families impacted by special needs, the Theater has learned that low-sensory screenings are seldom available to those living north and west of Pittsburgh.

This low-sensory screening is sponsored, in part, by funding from the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust, patrons who donate at the register and online, and other Theater supporters. As a nonprofit, independent cinema, the Theater plans to regularly offer low-sensory screenings and is seeking grant funding for this purpose.

The Theater hosted its first public, Low-sensory Screening of The Grinch in November, drawing more than 90 patrons from across a wide geographic range of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Westmoreland counties.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-1:10 p.m.

WHERE:  The Tull Family Theater, 418 Walnut St., Sewickley 15143

WHY: The latest Pennsylvania Autism Census shows that the highest number of people across the state receiving services for autism are in Allegheny County, even though it does not have the state’s highest population.

Tina Bower, a parent of a child attending The Grinch, shared their experience:

“The theater was full of children and families who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to see The Grinch in a theater. There were squeals and laughter and clapping with excitement. There were children stretching their legs and moving about when needed. And at the end of the movie, there was a round of applause and a theater full of smiles.

“The experience was beyond what I expected. My son has not stopped talking about it and asking when our next ‘date’ will be at The Tull Family Theater.”

TICKETS: General Admission, $11; Discounted to $8.75 for children 10 and younger, seniors 65 and older, college students and military with ID. Discount price available for groups of 10 or more, via arrangements with the Theater.

The Tull Family Theatera 501(c) (3) Pennsylvania nonprofit, is a film-based arts organization created to strengthen cultural, educational and entertainment experiences in the region northwest of Pittsburgh. Supported by diverse revenue streams from private, public, corporate and foundation funding, the theater counts among its donors Allegheny Regional Asset District, Huntington Bank, Esmark and the Bouchard Family, more than 600 individuals and its patrons. Their support sustains and expands programming at this independent cinema in Sewickley offering two screens and an event/performance space.

Contact: Karen Ferrick-Roman,, cell 412.671.1456