In an amazing gesture of compassion, the Theatre Development Fund, or TDF, recently performed an autism-friendly version of the beloved movie and staged musical, “The Lion King.” For the past 43 years, the Theatre Development Fund has designed or adapted theatre programs for children with a variety of disabilities, ranging from hearing loss to visual impairments.
As many autistic children are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in light and sounds, TDF modified the on-stage elements of “The Lion King” to ensure that their audience would not be negatively affected by the program. The foyer of the theatre was staffed with autism experts in order to provide assistance to children who may experience adverse reactions during the performance. Additionally, sections of the theatre were marked as official “quiet areas” for those children who may have been overly stimulated.
TDF’s decision to stage “The Lion King” was an excellent decision. The Broadway version of “The Lion King” is rapidly becoming one of the most popular musicals ever to take the stage in New York. Currently, it is the seventh longest-performed musical in Broadway history. “The Lion King” features a musical score by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. It is currently estimated that over 60 million people have attended performances of “The Lion King.”
Thanks to TDF, those who may not have had a chance to witness this Broadway icon were able to revel in the splendor and magic of “The Lion King.”