Disney UK today announced that its production of THE LION KING will hold a dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance on Sunday 4 June 2017 at 1:30pm. This follows the success of previous such performances designed to make the show more accessible for those affected by autism. In line with the announcement they have released a short video here looking at how the Autism-Friendly Performance is created. Tickets are now on sale.
Disney’s THE LION KING staged the West End’s first dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance in April 2013, working closely with The National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. THE LION KING has now staged three such performances in London and one in Edinburgh during the show’s UK tour.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. Although everyone on the autism spectrum is different, people may be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely challenging. They can also find social situations and unexpected changes a challenge, which can sometimes lead to extreme levels of anxiety.
Understandably, a visit to a musical on the scale of THE LION KING in London’s busiest theatre could prove an overwhelming experience for a significant number of people in the UK who are autistic.
These dedicated Autism-Friendly Performances of THE LION KING include modifications to the booking process, performance and the theatre environment, including:
★ The theatre’s foyer includes designated quiet and activity areas; staffed by experts in autism throughout the performance should anyone need to leave their seats
★ Slight adjustments are made to the performance itself, including the reduction of jarring sounds or strobe lighting that face the audience
★ The cast of THE LION KING along with Lyceum Theatre box office and front of house staff have been given training to understand the needs of an audience made up of adults and children who are autistic
★ A specific website has been set up for this performance, linking to a dedicated booking page. The website includes a downloadable ‘visual story’ to help people with autism understand the process of a visit to the theatre, thus aiding their comprehension of the experience and reducing anxiety by explaining each step from arriving in the foyer to the final curtain call
★ Audience members can find out more information and purchase tickets at www.lionkingautismfriendly.co.uk. Tickets are sold at a specially reduced rate and can be selected on a virtual map of the auditorium.
Disney’s award-winning musical THE LION KING is now in its 18th triumphant year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Since the UK premiere in London on Tuesday 19th October 1999, THE LION KING has entertained over 13 million theatregoers and remains the West End’s best-selling stage production. It is currently the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. Tickets are currently on sale until 30th April 2017 for individuals and 1st October 2017 for groups.
Julie Taymor’s internationally-celebrated stage adaptation of Disney’s beloved animated film premiered on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by more than 85 million people across six continents. Nine productions are running concurrently around the globe. In addition to the record-breaking productions in London and New York, The Lion King can currently be seen in Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo, Mexico City, Shanghai, Scheveningen and on tour across North America.
Disney’s THE LION KING – an Autism-Friendly Performance
Sunday 04 June at 1.30pm
Tickets on sale www.lionkingautismfriendly.co.uk
Help support staging more Relaxed Performances in theatre by downloading the 2016 Wilma Awards Charity Single “NO AWARDS FOR YOU” – a song for bad losers everywhere, based on the song ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ from the Musical Blood Brothers.
100% of the proceeds from this single will go to the National Autistic Society, to help in staging more Relaxed Performances of Theatre Shows, helping to make theatre more accessible to all.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all autistic people share certain difficulties, being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. Autistic people may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people with autism and their families. Founded in 1962, it continues to spearhead national and international initiatives and provide a strong voice for all autistic people. The NAS provides a wide range of services to help autistic people and people with Asperger syndrome live their lives with as much independence as possible. The NAS relies on the support of its members and donors to continue its vital work for people with autism. To become a member, make a donation or to find out more about the work of the NAS, visit the NAS website www.autism.org.uk
For more information about autism and for help in your area, call the NAS Autism Helpline on: 0808 800 4104 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday, (free from landlines and most mobiles).
Photo: Brinkhoff & Mogenburg