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TDF announces our 11th season of Autism Friendly Performances (AFP)

Date: Aug 23, 2022


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TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, is proud to present our 11th season of Autism Friendly Performances (AFP) for individuals on the autism spectrum or with other developmental or cognitive disabilities. The season begins on Sunday, October 2 at 1 p.m. with The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre and continues with the first-ever Autism Friendly Performance of New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® on Sunday, November 27 at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Wicked on Sunday, February 12, 2023 at the Gershwin Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at the Lyric Theatre, and a final show to be determined round out the AFP lineup.

“We’re thrilled to announce this 2022-23 season for several reasons,” said Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs. “Not only does the demand for these performances for families with children and adults on the autism spectrum increase each year, but this marks the 11th time we’ve worked with the marvelous folks at Disney Theatrical Productions to present an Autism Friendly Performance of The Lion King. Our AFP program launched in 2011 with Disney's landmark musical, and our upcoming Autism Friendly Performance of The Lion King will take place 11 years to the day of that groundbreaking performance. Since then, Disney Theatrical Productions has run with the ball and presented several Autism Friendly Performances of The Lion King across the country, as well as Autism Friendly Performances of Frozen and Aladdin on Broadway. We will also mark a historic first this year: thanks to New York City Ballet, we will present the inaugural Autism Friendly Performance of the company's legendary production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. We have wanted to expand AFP to dance and The Nutcracker was the obvious choice for a family outing during the holidays. We’re grateful to the folks at New York City Ballet for their cooperation. It will be a spectacular and life-changing experience for so many in the audience.”

AFP tickets typically go on sale six to eight weeks before a performance and are sold only through TDF’s website. Tickets to The Lion King are currently on sale. For more information on that performance, CLICK HERE

TDF AUTISM FRIENDLY PERFORMANCES launched in 2011 with The Lion King on Broadway. Since then, there have been AFP of Broadway's Aladdin, Cats, Come From Away, Elf: The Musical, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kinky Boots, Mary Poppins, Matilda, My Fair Lady, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.  

The program operates under the umbrella of TDF Accessibility Programs. To create an autism-friendly setting, the shows are performed in a supportive environment for children and adults diagnosed with autism or other sensory sensitivities and their families. Slight adjustments are made to the productions, where possible, including the reduction of jarring sounds and strobe lights focused into the audience. In the theatre lobby, there are staffed break areas in case audience members need to leave their seats during the performance. For AFP, TDF purchases every seat in the theatre and makes the tickets available at discount prices exclusively to families, groups, schools, etc. whose members include individuals on the autism spectrum. Learn more about TDF Autism Friendly Performances and sign up to receive emails about future events at

TDF Accessibility Programs make theatregoing possible for people with physical disabilities as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. The full range of services includes Autism Friendly Performances of Broadway productions; accessible seating for those with mobility issues; and open captioned, American sign language-interpreted and audio described performances of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for theatregoers who are Deaf or have hearing loss, are blind or have low vision. TDF also trains theatres in the US and abroad on how to set up open captioning programs and autism-friendly shows and offers an educational enrichment program for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision. TDF partnered with The Broadway League to develop the website TheatreAccess.NYC, the official site for accessibility information for Broadway shows.  
Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts.  
We are known for our theatregoing programs, including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booth and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances), Education & Community Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals and veterans), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs. During the COVID-19 theatre shutdown, we continued to serve our constituents by creating virtual adaptations of our programs via Zoom and other streaming platforms. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @tdfnyc

TDF wishes to acknowledge the following donors for their generous support of TDF Autism Friendly Performances
Darlene & Stuart Altschuler; Theodore H. Barth Foundation; The FAR Fund; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund; The Seventh District Foundation; The Taft Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council's Committee on Mental Health, Disability and Addictions. This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Ballet would like to thank the following funders who generously supported the first Autism Friendly Performance of The Nutcracker
Mother Cabrini Health Foundation and the Angel Shine Foundation/Allyson Tang in Honor of Thomas Widmann.

Support for New York City Ballet's Access Programs is also provided by: the Joseph and Sylvia Slifka Foundation, Pratt Industries, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., and Macy's.