Disney’s hit musical Aladdin is pleased to announce that its second dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance will take place at 1.30pm on Tuesday 28 August 2018. It follows the success of previous such performances which are designed to make the show more accessible for those affected by autism. The Lion King’s upcoming Autism-Friendly Performance on 3 June 2018 has now sold out.
Disney Theatrical Productions will work closely with The National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families, to deliver the performance.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. There are around 700,000 autistic 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.
Nancy Shakerley, Education and Outreach Manager for Disney Theatrical Group, said: “We are delighted to announce our second Autism-Friendly Performance at Aladdin in what will be the show’s third year in the West End. Taking place in the school holidays we hope that this will be a more accessible and relaxed performance for people with autism, as well as their family and friends. We continue to work closely with our partners, the National Autistic Society. This performance is becoming one of the highlights of our year!”
Chris Pike, Autism Access Specialist at the National Autistic Society, said: “We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to work with Disney Theatrical Productions and the Prince Edward Theatre on this hugely successful show.
“There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK, and many struggle to cope with unfamiliar places and everyday sights and sounds which others are able to filter out, such as artificial lighting, background music or traffic noise.
“Autistic people and their families tell us that they would love to visit the theatre, but because of sensory issues and anxiety in unfamiliar surroundings, they are prevented from doing so. Aladdin’s production team have taken great care in adapting the show, including having a ‘visual story’ online which can help autistic people prepare for their visit in advance. This means that for some of the audience on 28 August, this will be the very first time that they are able to experience the thrill of a live performance.”
These dedicated Autism-Friendly Performances of Aladdin 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 Aladdin along with Prince Edward 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.aladdinthemusical/autismfriendly. Tickets are sold at a specially reduced rate and can be selected on a virtual map of the auditorium.
Aladdin features the timeless songs from the 1992 animated film as well as new music written by Tony®, Olivier© and eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Little Shop Of Horrors). With lyrics from Olivier Award and two-time Oscar® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony and Olivier Award, three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida), and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), and a book by Beguelin, Aladdin is directed and choreographed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).
Now in its fifth record-breaking year on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Aladdin’s global presence has grown to six productions on four continents, seen by more than 7.2 million people to date. The show opened at Tokyo’s Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi in May 2015, had its European premiere in December 2015 at the Stage Theatre Neue Flora, Hamburg, began performances in August 2016 in Australia and launched its North American tour in Chicago in April 2017.
Disney’s Aladdin – an Autism-Friendly Performance
Tuesday 28 August at 1.30pm
Tickets on sale
Prince Edward Theatre
28 Old Compton St
London W1D 4HS
Box Office number: 0844 482 5152
For further information relating to the London production of Aladdin, please contact:
The Corner Shop PR
Tel. 020 7831 7657
Hannah Clapham HannahC@thecornershoppr.com 07779 390 991
Samantha Montague Samantha@thecornershoppr.com 020 7831 7657
About Disney Theatrical Productions
DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its 10 Broadway titles have been seen by over 160 million theatergoers and have been nominated for 59 Tony® Awards, winning Broadway’s highest honor 20 times. With more than 20 productions currently produced or licensed, a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.
The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. It played a remarkable 13 year run on Broadway and has been produced in 37 countries worldwide.
In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical. After 20 landmark years on Broadway, it has welcomed more than 95 million visitors worldwide to date and can currently be seen in nine productions worldwide. Having played 19 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida opened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards. It was followed by Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, which opened in London in 2004 and went on to enjoy a six-year Tony-winning Broadway run.
Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, is now an international hit with an award-winning production in its 8th year in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway and was the #1-selling new musical of that year.
Disney Theatrical Productions opened two critically acclaimed productions on Broadway in 2012, receiving seven Tony Awards between them: Peter and the Starcatcher and Newsies, each of which enjoyed a two-year run with the latter launching a two-year North American tour and a record-breaking Fathom Events’ in-cinema release.
Aladdin, Disney Theatrical’s 2014 hit, continues selling out on Broadway and has productions in Tokyo, Hamburg, London, Australia and on tour across North America.
Other successful stage ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country’s leading regional theatres to develop new stage musicals including The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Freaky Friday.
Their new Broadway musical Frozen is now in performances on Broadway.
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).