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First Autism Friendly Performance Since the Start of the Pandemic

Date: Mar 07, 2022

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On Sunday, January 30, 2022, we hosted our first TDF Autism Friendly Performance since March 2020! More than 600 individuals with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensory issue and their families experienced Come From Away on Broadway in a safe and welcoming environment.


For our Autism Friendly Performances, TDF works closely with professionals in the field and consultants on the autism spectrum. These experts preview the production and then work with the show's artistic team on adjustments to ensure the performance is accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Common changes include the reduction of jarring sounds or strobe/spotlights that shine into the audience. House lights are faintly dimmed but remain on throughout the performance.

In addition to these adjustments, TDF creates resources for each production that help prepare audiences for the experience. During the performance, a team of volunteers and autism specialists are situated throughout the theatre, and break areas are available for those who need to leave their seats. Finally, to make TDF Autism Friendly Performances as accessible as possible, tickets are sold at a discounted rate.

See more photos from this landmark Autism Friendly Performance. 

After the Autism Friendly Performance of Come From Away, TDF spoke with the musical's creators, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, about experiencing the show with their "favorite audience."


During the shutdown, TDF continued serving our Autism Friendly Performances community by presenting accessible programs online for free. Since June 2020, we have hosted more than 15 virtual events, including The Magic of Kevin Spencer, a series of 30-minute shows and workshops featuring eye-popping illusions and the chance to try a trick at home; and a celebration of The Lion King featuring original Broadway cast member Aubrey Lynch II. Click here to watch highlights from some of TDF's virtual offerings.

TDF’s Autism Friendly Performance community attending a virtual performance by magician Kevin Spencer
TDF’s Autism Friendly Performance community attending a virtual performance by magician Kevin Spencer

These events were a lifeline for Autism Friendly Performances families struggling to maintain some sense of normalcy during the pandemic. TDF also provided 600 complimentary, three-month subscriptions to BroadwayHD so families could watch high-quality performances from the safety and comfort of home.

Want to see our Autism Friendly Performances in person? Please contact Kate Garst at kateg@tdf.org to join us for an upcoming event.

Top image: A family attending TDF's Autism Friendly Performance of Come From Away. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

 

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