Industry Press / 09.30.20
TDF to Present Virtual Experience to the Families with Children and Adults on the Autism Spectrum who have Attended TDF Autism-Friendly Performances
New York, NY – September 30, 2020 –In order to engage with the families with children and adults with sensory sensitivity who have attended TDF’s autism-friendly performances, TDF will host The Magic of Kevin Spencer, a virtual performance via Zoom on Sunday, October 4. This 30-minute show features eye-popping illusions and the chance to try a trick at home. Kevin focuses on using his magic to inspire, teach and build community. There will be two performances: 1pm and 2pm and are free for patrons of TDF’s Autism-Friendly Performances.
Additionally, on the morning of Saturday, October 10, Mr. Spencer will lead multiple 30-minute Magic Camp sessions for this community. Children and adults with sensory sensitivity will have the opportunity to learn tricks in a small, virtual group setting. These sessions are interactive.
“We are thrilled to have the wonderful illusionist Kevin Spencer engage with our families in the autism community in our first digital event,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs. “While we don’t know how long it will be until we can welcome our audiences back to live autism-friendly performances on Broadway, Kevin’s warmth and talents will help bring us together again during this difficult time through Zoom.”
"As a performer, one of my greatest privileges is to provide performances that are fully inclusive and appropriate for audiences of all ages and abilities,’ said Kevin Spencer. “Bringing families together and giving them something they can enjoy - each in a different way - is what true magic is all about!"
Kevin Spencer is an award-winning magician, the recipient of the 2009 and 2015 International Magician of the Year. He has performed throughout the U.S. and around the world. He is also faculty in the education department at Carlow University in Pittsburgh; a Fulbright Specialist and a subject matter expert on arts integration for special populations for the U.S. Department of State; a research consultant in the School of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy and Institute of Arts in Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has a master’s in education, a Certification in Autism Studies, and is a PhD candidate in special education.
TDF Autism-Friendly Performances Program was founded in 2011 and operates under the umbrella of TDF’s Accessibility Programs. To create an autism-friendly setting, the shows are performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production, where possible, will include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. In the theatre lobby, there will be staffed break areas, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance. For these autism-friendly performances, TDF purchases every seat in the theatre and makes tickets available, at discount prices, exclusively to families, groups, schools, etc. whose members include individuals on the autism.
Since the program began in 2011, TDF has presented autism-friendly performances of these Broadway productions: Aladdin, Cats, Come from Away, Elf: The Musical, Frozen, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kinky Boots, Mary Poppins, Matilda, My Fair Lady, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Spongebob Squarepants, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The King and I, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked, as well as Disney Jr Live on Tour at the Hulu Theatre at MSG.
ABOUT TDF ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS
TDF’s eight accessibility programs make theatre-going possible for young people and adults with physical disabilities, as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. They provide a full range of services, including autism-friendly performances of theatre productions; accessible seating for those with mobility issues; and open captioned, sign language interpreted and audio described performances of Broadway and Off Broadway shows for theatregoers with hearing and vision loss. TDF also trains theatres in the U.S. and abroad on how to set up open captioning programs and autism-friendly shows, and offers an educational enrichment program for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or with low vision. TDF partners with the Broadway League on developing and maintaining the website theatreaccess.nyc.
Founded in 1968, TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, 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 by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership program); Accessibility programs (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances), Education & Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to tdf.org.
TDF Autism-Friendly Performances Program receives major support from:
Darlene and Stuart Altschuler, The Theodore H. Barth Foundation, Helene & Ilene Berger, Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund, Liv It Up & The David and Polly D'Addario Family, The FAR Fund, Joseph H. Flom Foundation, The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, NEXT for AUTISM from the proceeds of Night of Too Many Stars, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, S&P Global, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, The Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, Seventh District Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the Smart Family Foundation of New York, and The Taft Foundation.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.