The Lion King is the first major musical to hold an autism friendly performance in Australia.
Having already held successful performances in New York, London, Edinburgh, Houston & Pittsburgh and following the triumph of Sydney’s event earlier this year, Autism Awareness Australia, in association with Disney, and QPAC, will present Brisbane’s first autism friendly performance of The Lion King, this Saturday 29 November at 1:30pm in the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).
The show will be specifically adapted for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, by making slight adjustments to the production in the areas of sound and lighting, including the removal of strobe lighting, reduction of jarring sounds and lights focussed on the audience.
Other provisions will be made including the allowance of guests to bring their own snacks, and should anyone need to leave their seats, a dedicated area is set up where trained staff will be on hand to provide activities or quiet time.
Autism Awareness Australia CEO, Nicole Rogerson, said “We’re excited to be able to bring this amazing experience to families in Brisbane. Rarely do they have the opportunity to attend an event in such an inclusive and supportive environment and we’re so proud to be able to facilitate that.”
A mother who attended the London autism-friendly performance, was so impressed she wrote an article for the website: Through Accepting Limits. She commented on how it wasn’t simply an adaptation but a true event experience for her and the autism community, in which a lot of thought had gone into the planning of the event. The mother noted that the cast member who played Scar, came out and spoke to the audience before the show to explain that his name was George and he plays the role of Scar. This pointed out the additional consideration of how ideas are processed differently, making the event a profound success.
It is amazing to see Disney lead by example, making theatre more accessible for everyone, and we can only hope this is the first inclusive production of many.
An audio described performance of The Lion King is also available on Sunday 11 January 2015 at 1pm.