, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, will host the first-ever autism-friendly performance of New York City Ballet's internationally renowned production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Tailored for families with members on the autism spectrum or with other developmental or cognitive disabilities, this special matinee will be presented through TDF's Autism Friendly Performances program (AFP) on Sunday, November 27 at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater.
Tickets to the autism-friendly performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® are currently on sale HERE. Also, visit TDF.org/autism to learn more about TDF Autism Friendly Performances and to sign up for our email list to learn of upcoming events.
“We are thrilled to mark this historic first for TDF Autism Friendly Performances. Thanks to New York City Ballet (NYBC), we will present an autism-friendly performance of the company's legendary production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®,” said Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs. “We wanted to explore offering dance for our AFP program and George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® was the obvious choice for a family outing during the holidays. We’re grateful to the staff at NYCB for their support and hope this will be a wonderful experience for audience members of all ages.”
“Since 2014 New York City Ballet’s Education Department has produced programming and workshops for people with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum,” said Jonathan Stafford, Artistic Director of New York City Ballet. “This year, thanks to the Company’s partnership with TDF, we are thrilled to expand these offerings to include the first-ever, autism-friendly performance of our beloved holiday production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.”
TDF AUTISM FRIENDLY PERFORMANCES launched in 2011 with a special performance of Disney’s 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.
The current AFP season began with an autism friendly performance of The Lion King on October 2 and continues with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® on November 27 at 1 p.m., Wicked on February 12, 2023 at 1 p.m., Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on April 30, 2023 at 1 p.m. and a final show to be determined.
ABOUT TDF ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS
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 Booths and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioning, audio description, Autism Friendly Performances and the Veterans Theatregoing Program), Education & Community Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals), 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 tdf.org. Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @tdfnyc.
ABOUT NEW YORK CITY BALLET (NYCB)
New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world. The company was founded in 1948 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, and quickly became world-renowned for its athletic and contemporary style. Jerome Robbins joined NYCB the following year and, with Balanchine, helped to build its unparalleled repertory. Now under the direction of NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan and NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown, NYCB is committed to promoting creative excellence and nurturing a new generation of dancers and choreographers.
Nutcracker photos (photo credit: Erin Baiano)
Nutcracker B-roll (courtesy New York City Ballet)
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 and the 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 are generously supporting 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 & Sylvia Slifka Foundation, Pratt Industries, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Inc. and Macy's.
Travelers is the Global Sponsor of New York City Ballet.
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