The Hobby Center Foundation provides programming that encourages attendance of the arts to a wide cross section of Houston and the surrounding communities through our arts education and community outreach initiatives.
Fostering accessibility to the arts and promoting arts education is a vital part of our mission as we endeavor to bring the arts to all Houstonians with diverse and accessible programming.
The Discovery Series
The Discovery Series is a dynamic arts education community partnership and a successful affiliation with regional school districts and local performing arts groups. It addresses an important need in local schools, providing an opportunity for teachers and students to experience arts outside of the classroom in a downtown Theater District venue.
The series reaches thousands of Houston-area students annually (many from Title I schools), helping cultivate an appreciation for the arts in today’s students and tomorrow’s performers and audience members. Many of these students would not have the opportunity to attend an educational theatrical performance without this program.
The free performances and support materials provide teachers with connections that integrate the learning experience from the theater back into the classroom. The Discovery Series is offered free of charge to the students and the participating schools, including the reimbursement of school bus transportation for those that take advantage of it. For each season the Foundation subsidizes the majority of the costs associated with presenting the programming.
Continual growth in offerings for patrons with accessibility needs is a major priority for the Foundation, this includes the ongoing training and activation of a team of volunteers, known as the “Access Team” who aid patrons with mobility needs. Golf Cart service is also provided to and from the venue’s parking garage to assist these patrons. The Foundation also works closely with Broadway Across America and Theatre Under the Stars to coordinate ASL interpreted, open captioning and audio described performances along with backstage “touch tours” for patrons with low or limited vision. Braille and large print Playbills are also made available for Broadway series performances.
The Hobby Center Foundation’s Autism Theatre initiative provides sensory friendly performances in both our Discovery Series arts education series and for Broadway series performances when the opportunity arises. To date, these have included sensory friendly presentations of The Lion King, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Disney’s Aladdin. Houston and the Hobby Center was the first city to provide an autism friendly performance of a nationally touring production with the presentation of The Lion King.
These performance experiences are specifically tailored for those with sensory sensitivities and their families and create a welcoming and supportive environment. Accommodations are made to allow for a more relaxed and inclusive experience.