After a successful pilot performance last fall, two more sensory-friendly Broadway shows are planned for this year.
The Theatre Development Fund — a nonprofit focused on theater accessibility for all — said Wednesday that it has scheduled an autism-friendly performance of “Mary Poppins” on April 29 and a showing of “The Lion King” on September 30.
The announcement comes just months after the group put on a well-received showing of “The Lion King” for those with autism last October. The performance marked a first for Broadway.
The special showings, which are designed to meet the unique needs of people with autism and their families, are adjusted to minimize surprising sounds and the use of strobe lights and other stimuli that might alarm those with the developmental disorder.
Additionally, a “quiet area” is made available during autism-friendly performances for people to go if they need a break and experts are on-site to provide assistance.
“The pilot autism-friendly performance of ‘The Lion King’ was successful beyond our greatest expectations,” said Victoria Bailey, executive director of the Theatre Development Fund. “It was tremendously emotional watching families experience live theater together for the first time in an environment that was safe and supportive.”
Tickets for the upcoming autism-friendly Broadway performance are available at a reduced rate through the Theatre Development Fund’s website. “Mary Poppins” is already nearly sold out, organizers said. Tickets for “The Lion King” will be available in late spring.
In addition to arranging autism-friendly performances of Broadway productions in New York, officials at the Theatre Development Fund said they are also available to consult with local theater companies interested in offering similarly accessible performances.