Gurr News : Cats To Give Autism-Friendly Performance

On July 16, 2017 TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative will launch its seventh season with the first-ever autism-friendly performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats  at 2 PM at the Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street.

The Cats Company photo credit :  Matt Murphy

The Cats Company
photo credit : Matt Murphy

“We’re thrilled to be able to begin our seventh season with this amazing production,” said TDF Director of Accessibility Programs Lisa Carling in a statement. “After each performance we survey our audience members to find out which shows they’d like to see. The overwhelming response this year was for Cats, and we’re grateful to the production for allowing us to be able to share this classic with this new audience.” [source :]

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. This performance which made theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum as well as their families was so successful that the Autism Theatre Initiative has continued to present many autism-friendly performances on Broadway since then including Mary Poppins, Spider-Man, Wicked, Matilda, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, and more. TDF's ATI 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 Theatre Initiative also consults with theatres across the country as part of its National Advisory Partnerships


What makes a performance autism-friendly?

Each show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for 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 reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. Quiet and activity 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.  \


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