TDF Autism Friendly Performances

For everyone who wants to know the thrill of the live experience

Audience-thrilling. Autism-friendly.

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. Following the success of the first performance, the program, now known as TDF's Autism Friendly Performances continues to make theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum as well as their families.

Some of the many autism-friendly performances on Broadway since then include Mary Poppins, Spider-Man, Wicked, Matilda, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, and more. TDF's autism-friendly 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 Friendly Performances also consults with theatres across the country as part of its National Training Program.

What makes a performance autism-friendly?

Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues and their families and friends.

Slight adjustments to the production are made, including reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe and spot lights that shine into the audience. House lights are faintly dimmed but remain on. Break 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.  


Broadway Shows for the 2018-2019 Season

SpongeBob SquarePants the Broadway Musical, Sunday July 15, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. SOLD OUT!

The Lion King, Sunday September 30, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.

Frozen, Sunday November 4, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.

Aladdin, Sunday March 3, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

My Fair Lady, Sunday May 5, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

In The News

AFP Donors

TDF Autism Friendly Performances are 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 Collaborates for Autism from the proceeds of Comedy Central's 2015 Night of Too Many Stars; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; The SAP Charitable Fund; Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation; Seventh District Foundation; The Taft Foundation; and 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 Friendly Performances, please click to make a donation.

We can make no assurances that these performances will be suitable for everyone with autism. Parents and guardians are solely responsible for their child’s viewing and engagement with these performances.