Broadway theatre becomes autism friendly

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Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:20pm

USA: The Broadway based Theatre Development Fund (TDF) is piloting a new program to make theatre accessible to audience members on the autism spectrum.

The Autism Theatre Initiative is part of TDF's Accessibility Programs and the inaugural performance will be of The Lion King at its matinee session on Sunday, 2 October. An advisory panel of autism experts are working with TDF to ensure the audience’s needs are met, and TDF has purchased every seat in the theatre to re-sell to families with members within the autism spectrum.

"For the first time in Broadway history a designated performance of a show will be open to the autism community," said Lisa Carling, TDF's director of accessibility programs. "Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible, welcoming families with children and adults on the autism spectrum, including Asperger's syndrome, to fill the theatre and be assured that everyone involved with the production - from the cast, production crew and theatre staff - is delighted to have the audience there."

The show will be performed with slight adjustments, including the reduction of jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. The theatre lobby will have designated quiet areas staffed with autism experts, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance.

Details are available on the Broadway World website.

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