Autism Theatre Initiative

Making Theatre Accessible to Autistic Children and Adults

On October 2, 2011, TDF Accessibility Program launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) which makes theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their families. The first autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show was Disney’s landmark musical "The Lion King".

This performance was so successful that Autism Theatre Initiative has presented many autism-friendly performances of Broadway and Off Broadway. Soon, theatres around the country see the need for autism-friendly performances in their communities and have begun to produce them as a result of this initiative.

Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of 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 the reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. Plus, in the theatre lobby there are quiet areas and an activity area, staffed with autism specialists, for those who need to leave their seats during the performance.

Downloadable social stories (in Word format), with pictures of the theatres and productions, are available several months in advance of the performances. These are designed to personalize the experience for each attendee with autism spectrum disorders.

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


ATI’s Broadway Shows for the 2014-2015 Season


The Lion King (September 28th 2014 at 1pm)
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (December 7th 2014 at 1:30pm)
Matilda The Musical (February 1st 2015 at 1:30pm)
Aladdin (March 8th 2015 at 1pm)

More Announcements Coming Soon!


 Make sure you sign up for info on future performances on the right of this page. Tickets to ATI shows are offered through TDF at affordable prices.

ATI Donors

TDF wishes to acknowledge the following Autism Theatre Initiative donors for their generous support:
  • Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund

  • Helene Berger Foundation

  • Bulova Stetson Fund

  • The FAR Fund

  • The Flom Family Foundation

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities

  • The National Endowment for the Arts

  • New York Collaborates for Autism with the proceeds from Comedy Central's 2012 Night of Too Many Stars

  • The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

  • Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation

  • Seventh District Foundation

  • The Joseph LeRoy and Ann C. Warner Fund, Inc.

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