By Michael Gioia
27 Apr 2013
The performance, which takes place at the Foxwoods Theatre during Autism Awareness Month and is presented through TDF's Accessibility Programs (TAP), illustrates TDF's commitment to continue to present autism-friendly performances in New York City. The first-ever autism-friendly performance of The Lion King was held Oct. 2, 2011. Mary Poppins and Elf have also participated in the program.
Additionally, TDF has also been consulting with other theatre organizations across the United States who would like to present their own autism-friendly performances.
"We're thrilled to be able to make this show available to the community of families with children and adults on the autism spectrum," said Lisa Carling, TDF's director of Accessibility Programs (TAP), in an earlier statement. "After our first autism-friendly shows we surveyed the families and asked which shows they would most like to bring their children to and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark was at the top of the list. We're grateful to the show's producers, management and creative staff and crew for accommodating the Autism Theatre Initiative and uniting with us to make the show an unforgettable experience for all."
"When we piloted this program we had a sense that there was a large audience of families in need of this service," added TDF executive director Victoria Bailey. "After the first performance it was clear that our presumption was true. Watching families experience live theatre together for the first time in an environment that was safe and supportive is a truly emotional and gratifying experience. We could never do this without the cooperation of everyone involved in the productions from the producers to the ushers."
In order to be "autism-friendly," according to TDF, "the shows are 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 productions include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights. In the theatre lobby area there are designated quiet and activity areas, staffed with autism experts, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance."
For these performances, TDF purchases every seat in the theatre for sale at discount prices to families whose members include individuals on the autism spectrum.
Spider-Man features music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, direction by Julie Taymor and Philip William McKinley (The Boy From Oz), and a book co-written by Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
For more information about TDF's Autism Theatre Initiative and to sign up, visit TDF.org/Autism.