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The Lion King welcomes TDF's Introduction to Theatre program and Autism Friendly Performances back to the Minskoff Theatre
The Lion King welcomes the TDF community back to the theatre with two full house events in one week: TDF's Introduction to Theatre for NYC public school students on Wednesday, March 2 & an Autism Friendly Performance on Sunday, March 6

TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, is thrilled to announce two exciting events at The Lion King—the first time TDF has partnered with the landmark Broadway musical since the production’s emotional reopening last fall.

On Wednesday, March 2 at 2 p.m., 1,500 New York City public school students along with their teachers and teaching artists will attend a matinee performance of The Lion King. This is not only the first Broadway full house for TDF's Introduction to Theatre program in almost two years, but also the first time a Broadway show has been filled with students from one program serving NYC public school students since performances resumed in 2021. Participants come from 22 public schools located across the five boroughs. There is no cost to the schools or the students participating in this TDF program.

Later that week, on Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m., the Minskoff Theatre will be filled with families for a special Autism Friendly Performance of the international musical hit.

"We're thrilled to be bringing full houses of students and families with children and adults on the spectrum back to live theatre performances," said TDF’s Executive Director Victoria Bailey. "Disney Theatrical has always been a wonderful partner and goes out of its way to accommodate participants in TDF's programs. For many, attending these performances is life changing."

TDF INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE is a project-based arts education program that includes attending a Broadway or Off Broadway show. TDF provides a teaching artist and tickets to the production at no cost to the school or students. Central to the program is the classroom project, which is designed by the classroom teacher and the teaching artist to prepare participants for the show. It is primarily an opportunity to engage students in the creative process in a hands-on way. Students receive a total of eight in-class pre- and post-performance workshops from TDF teaching artists, who work directly with classroom teachers.

For more than 25 years, Introduction to Theatre has introduced over 150,000 middle and high school students to the power of live performances.

The students attending The Lion King on March 2 come from 22 NYC schools:

The Bronx – Bronx Community High School; Creston Academy; Harriet Tubman Charter School; Marble Hill School for International Studies; Mott Hall Community School; Theatre Arts Production Company School
Brooklyn – Brooklyn High School of the Arts; The Brooklyn International High School; Fort Hamilton High School; George Westinghouse High School; High School for Service & Learning at Erasmus; Juan Morel Campos Secondary School; M.S. 839
Manhattan – Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School; Democracy Prep Endurance Middle School; Democracy Prep Harlem High School; Millennium High School; Stuyvesant High School
Queens – International High School for Health Sciences; Robert F. Kennedy Community High School; Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts & Technology
Staten Island – CSI High School for International Studies

TDF AUTISM FRIENDLY PERFORMANCES launched in 2011 with a special performance of The Lion King. Since then, there have been Autism Friendly Performances of Broadway's Aladdin, Cats, Come From Away, Elf the Musical, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kinky Boots, Mary Poppins, Matilda the Musical, My Fair Lady, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

This is one of many TDF Accessibility Programs. To create an autism-friendly setting, the shows are performed in a supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults diagnosed with autism or other sensory sensitivities. Slight adjustments are made to the productions, including the reduction of jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. In the theatre lobby, there are staffed break areas in case theatregoers need to leave their seats during the performance. TDF purchases every seat in the theatre for our Autism Friendly Performances and makes tickets available at discount prices exclusively to families, groups, schools, etc. whose members include individuals on the autism spectrum. During the pandemic, TDF kept its Autism Friendly Performances community engaged with special virtual experiences, including The Magic of Kevin Spencer, original musicals starring the neurodiverse puppet Little B., and Q&As with actors from Newsies and other Broadway shows.

ABOUT TDF
Founded in 1968, TDF is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. TDF is known for its theatre going programs, including the TKTS Discount Ticket Booth and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioned, sign language interpreted, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances); Education & Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals and veterans); as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TDF continued to serve its constituents by crafting inventive virtual adaptations of its programs via Zoom and other streaming platforms. For more information, visit www.tdf.org.

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TDF is grateful to the following donors and funders for their generous support:

TDF Autism Friendly Performances: Darlene & Stuart Altschuler; The Theodore H. Barth Foundation Inc.; The FAR Fund; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund; Seventh District Foundation; The Taft Foundation; The Shubert Foundation and The Howard Gilman Foundation.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council - The Committee on Mental Health, Disability and Addictions. This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

TDF Introduction to Theatre: Anonymous (1); Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation; The Cornelius N. Bliss Memorial Fund Inc.; Lisa and Edmund Cohen; Con Edison; The Rona Jaffe Foundation; Phyllis Jo Kubey; The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Sarah Saltzberg; Scenery Bags; The Shubert Foundation; Sony USA Foundation Inc.; Andrew and Merrill Silver; and Antoinette Tomai.

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