The Theatre Development Fund (TDF)—a non-profit devoted to making live performances accessible to everyone—recently announced its upcoming season of shows presented for audience members with autism.
TDF sponsors matinee performances of certain Broadway productions each year through its Autism Friendly Performances Program. The organization works with the theaters and performers to create safe, welcoming environments for audience members with autism or other sensitivity issues. House lights are brightened slightly, loud noises or strobe lighting and other potentially disturbing effects are removed from the shows, and staffed quiet areas are set up in theater lobbies. TDF buys all seats for these performances and offers them for free or discounted prices to people with autism, their families, schools and supportive groups.
This year’s shows include “The Lion King” on Sept. 30 at The Minskoff Theatre; “Frozen” on Nov. 4 at the St. James Theatre; “Aladdin” on March 3, 2019, at The New Amsterdam Theatre; and the Lincoln Center Theater production of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” on May 5, 2019, at The Vivian Beaumont Theater. All performances take place at 1 p.m.
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Children who use AAC devices put on a play at a family camp to show the world that communicating is more than talking.
Lisa Carling, TDF’s director of accessibility programs, states in the organization’s press release: “Our wonderful pool of volunteers is expanding to include even more professionals in the autism field. It’s truly exciting to be heading into this eighth year seeing how much the program has grown in audience numbers and impact!”
Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for the ASHA Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.