The Folly Kids’ Series Joins the #Inclusionrevolution for the Arts offering Variety KC Sensory Backpacks

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The Folly Kids’ Series serves students of all cultural backgrounds representing the full breadth of diversity within the Greater Kansas City community. Each year, we seek to be a positive agent for change by presenting educational theater productions with messages of compassion and personal growth representative of the community we serve. Story themes help promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices in school settings and our community. Support from Variety KC in the form of sensory kits will demonstrate the Folly’s commitment to putting these messages into practice by instituting practical ways all students can experience the arts.

The Folly Kids’ Series is designed to serve the educational, social, and cultural needs of students in the Greater Kansas City community. Our Series draws schools from the 5-county metropolitan area and serves 8000-9000 students annually. The Series is a valuable asset to the education community, providing lively, engaging arts experiences for K-12 students and tying these experiences to age appropriate, curriculum-based literature, social studies, history, science, language, and communication arts studies. Performances are designed to support youth education through stories that enrich classroom understanding, challenge/broaden student perception, and inspire constructive thinking. We strive to ensure all schools and students, regardless of socio-economic standing, have access to these valuable arts performances. Each year, the Folly Theater seeks grant funding to offer Title I schools and underserved students subsidized tickets and bus transportation to extend its reach and impact of the Series. As a valuable asset to the education community for 40 years, the Kids’ Series provides enriching arts performances that unleash imagination, inspire creativity, and challenge future leaders to think about the world around them in new ways.

We recognize the true value and critical role diversity serves in helping our theater and community thrive. We are committed to sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable space where everyone feels valued and respected regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, or ability. We recognize the array and ever-changing needs of students, and we understand how large arts performances can be overwhelming and stimulating for young people. The Folly seeks to collaborate with Variety KC and offer sensory backpacks at all Kids’ Series and Folly Theater performances to ensure we are providing a safe, calm, and inclusive performance experience for all, including our youngest patrons. Assistive technology will enhance the performance experience by helping students regain control of their emotions, improve focus, and remain engaged with their peers as they experience quality arts performances together. Folly Kids’ Series performances imprint an appreciation for the arts and our community while communicating critical themes benefiting social and cultural development. These beneficial sensory kits will reduce separation of students from their peers, promote inclusive practices, and create accessible arts experiences for students, demonstrating that the ability to explore the limitless imagination is universal. In connection with our upcoming theater renovations, we are working to raise funds to install live-streaming cameras, mixers, and technology, which will permit simulcasting performances into a serenity space where overly stimulated students can enjoy performances while using sensory backpacks.



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