We are pleased to announce our first ever Sensory Friendly Performance of San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 21 at 7 PM! This full-length performance will provide a relaxed, shush-free, and shame-free environment for audience members of all ages and abilities to experience this magical holiday tradition in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

Sensory Friendly Performances are designed to create a welcoming performing arts experience for people with autism, sensory input disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, and their families, friends, and caretakers. In collaboration with our community partners from Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, SF Ballet has made special accommodations to the performance and theater-going experience to make neurodiverse audiences feel welcome to enjoy Nutcracker in a fun, accepting environment.

What makes this performance Sensory Friendly?

  • Audience members are invited to come to the performance and be themselves! Expectations for audience etiquette at this performance will be relaxed; talking or vocalizing is accepted, and patrons can move freely in their seats and the aisles during the performance, within appropriate safety parameters.
  • House lights will remain on at a low level throughout the entirety of the performance.
  • Some loud sounds and startling moments are modified for this performance.
  • Fidget objects, noise-reducing headphones, and other sensory tools or devices are allowed inside the theater during the performance. Audience members can also feel free to bring their own comfort items with them into the theater.
  • Entering and exiting the theater is allowed throughout the performance. Designated quiet spaces will be available for audience members who may need to take a break from the performance.
  • Every level will have restrooms designated as gender-neutral family restrooms for accessibility.
  • Audience members will have access to social stories and resource materials to help prepare for the Nutcracker experience before the performance.
  • Assistive listening devices will be available for patrons with hearing impairment.
  • Wheelchair-accessible seating options are located in the Orchestra, Dress Circle, and Box levels.


For additional assistance with selecting seats to best accommodate the accessibility needs of your party, please contact Ticketing Services at tickets@sfballet.org or 415-865-2000. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday, from 10 AM – 4 PM.

*Although the performance on December 21 at 7 PM is adapted specifically to accommodate individuals with special needs and/or sensory sensitivities, the general public is welcome to attend. All patrons are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the adjustments of the Sensory Friendly Performance in order to help create a welcoming and accommodating environment for all audience members.

San Francisco Ballet Fan Fest 2018 // © Chris Hardy
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Dance Workshop 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
SF Ballet's Sensory Friendly Relaxed Dress Rehearsal 2019 // © Gulsum N
San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson
previous arrow
next arrow

To experience other sensory friendly performances in San Francisco this holiday season, discover American Conservatory Theater's Christmas Carol or visit Inclusive Arts.

Support for Sensory Friendly Performances of Nutcracker is generously provided by Goldman Sachs Gives, John Garfinkle, Ian Reinhard and Myra Reinhard Family Foundation, Brook Hartzell and Tad Freese, Cheryl and Bruce Kiddoo, Alison Mauzé, and Lorraine C. Gilmore in honor of CJ Gray and the Barrett family; and from Sarah, Jesse, Allison, and Alex in honor of Betsy Eisenhardt.

Experience the complete ballet, with choreography by Helgi Tomasson performed by San Francisco Ballet, and music by Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky performed by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 7:00 PM
War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Doors open at 6:00 PM
Performance starts at 7:00 PM and ends at approximately 9:00 PM

The performance running time is approximately 2 hours with one intermission

Parking and Transit Information



Pre-Performance Social Story


Download Your Visual Checklist Here


Read More


Read More