Autism Theatre Initiative

Making Theatre Accessible to Individuals with Autism
On October 2, 2011, TDF launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) with Disney's landmark musical The Lion King, the first ever autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show. This performance which made theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum as well as their families was so successful that the Autism Theatre Initiative has continued to present many autism-friendly performances on Broadway since then including Mary Poppins, Spider-Man, Wicked, Matilda, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, and more. TDF's ATI performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was the first autism-friendly performance of a non-musical in Broadway history. TDF's Autism Theatre Initiative also consults with theatres across the country as part of its National Advisory Partnerships.



What makes a performance autism-friendly?


Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production are made, including reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. Quiet and activity areas staffed with autism specialists are available in the lobby areas for those who need to leave their seats during the performance. To personalize the experience for attendees, downloadable social narratives (in Word format) with pictures of the theatres and productions are available in advance of the performances. TDF also produced a video social narrative that describes how best to navigate Times Square.  

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PLEASE NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A TDF MEMBER TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO THESE PERFORMANCES. THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT FOR BEING A TDF MEMBER



ATI’s Broadway Shows for the 2016-2017 Season


The Lion King Sunday September 25th 2016 at 1pm
The Phantom of the Opera Saturday November 19th 2016 at 1pm
Aladdin Sunday March 5th 2017 at 1pm (SOLD OUT)
Kinky Boots Sunday May 7th 2017 at 1pm (On Sale In Late March)







ATI Donors


ATI is funded in part by:
  • The Theodore H. Barth Foundation
  • Helene Berger Foundation
  • Al Berr
  • The Bulova Stetson Fund
  • Dylandale Foundation
  • The FAR Fund
  • The Joseph H. Flom Foundation
  • The Friars Foundation
  • Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee
  • Joseph Gordon
  • Debra Hazelwood
  • McGraw Hill Financial
  • New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
  • New York Collaborates for Autism from the proceeds of Comedy Central's 2015 Night of Too Many Stars
  • New York State Council on the Arts
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation
  • The SAP Charitable Fund
  • Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation
  • Seventh District Foundation
  • The Taft Foundation
  • TJX Companies
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


If you too would like to support the work of the Autism Theatre Initiative, please click to make a donation.