Autism-friendly family musicals to hit Broadway

Popular Broadway shows Mary Poppins and The Lion King get a makeover to be more suitable for autistic children

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Autistic children in New York will be able to enjoy performances of The Lion King and Mary Poppins specially tailored for those diagnosed with the condition.

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Autism can cause children to be sensitive to loud noises or harsh lighting and make it difficult for them to sit and concentrate for long periods of time. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why a typical theatre show may not be ideal for a child with autism.

A pilot scheme last year saw a performance of The Lion King specially altered to suit autistic children. It was hugely popular and encouraged the non-profit organisation behind it, The Theater Development Fund, to expand the program this year.

“There is an enormous pent-up desire for this. There’s a huge need,” said Victoria Bailey, from the fund.

The shows will be changed to reduce any jarring sounds and get rid of strobe lighting. There will also be quiet areas with beanbags and colour books, with autism experts on hand for those who still become overwhelmed.

What a brilliant idea – when can we have this in London’s West End?

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