I’m not really a movie theater fan. I don’t know if it is sensory or what, but there are just a bunch of other things I’d rather be doing than movies. I’m definitely a fan of Netflix, though!
I was lucky enough, however, to be exposed to the performing arts as a child and love almost nothing more than a live performance – concert, theater show, dance performance… just about anything live makes me happy.
The organization who runs the discount TKTS booth in Times Square, the Theatre Development Fund, also runs all kinds of amazing programs aimed at making theatre (both in NYC and across the country) accessible to all – including people with disabilities. I’m lucky in that I do not need any accommodations to go to the theatre, but many people are not able to do so. They offer discounted performances targeted to people with disabilities affecting vision or hearing, such as audio-described and signed performances.
TDF recently started something called the Autism Theatre Initiative, which offers modified performances targeted for families affected by autism. I think this is an amazing idea that I hope will have more success, as theatre is a powerful art form that everyone should have access to – and that many people with autism cannot. As a part of the newly-launched GOOD site, they are in the running to receive funding to continue this program. Currently the Lion King offers performances, personally I think it would be amazing if this expanded beyond Disney shows (many people with differences of all kinds have responded to the message of Wicked, for example, that would be great if they could adapt that show). Please consider checking this out and voting!
Thanks for reading this. I don’t really want to use my blog just to promote other things, but this is important to me on behalf of theatre fans with and without disabilities.
Continuing with the theatre discussion… apologies in advance for anyone not interested! The Theater Development Fund (who run the wonderful TDF discount accessible tickets for people with disabilities, as well as the TKTS reduced priced tickets booth in Times Square) is developing the Autism Theater Initiative, “which aims to make theatergoing accessible to children and adults living on the autism spectrum.” I think this is an amazing opportunity, following in the footsteps of sign language interpreters for Deaf patrons and audio-described performances for people with visual impairments.
While many people with varying degrees of ASD do not need such services – and can enjoy live performances without modifications – it’s great that these organizations are thinking ahead about how best to incorporate people of all abilities into a theater-going audience. It’s wonderful for parents, too, since many times they are unable to go to shows due to their child’s overwhelming needs. More information about this and other TDF programs can be found at tdf.org/autism.
The New York Times ArtsBeat column wrote more about this program: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/program-hopes-to-make-broadway-friendlier-to-those-with-autism.