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Disney’s Aladdin to stage autism-friendly performance

Published 13 March 2017

Disney’s hit musical Aladdin, which opened in the West End in June 2016, has announced that its first dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance will take place on Tuesday 29 August 2017. Tickets are now on sale.

It follows the success of previous such performances at The Lion King, whose upcoming Autism-Friendly Performance on 4 June 2017 has now sold out. The Autism-Friendly Performance of Aladdin is specially designed to make the West End production more accessible to autistic people. 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.

Nancy Shakerley, Development and Education Manager for Disney Theatrical Group, said: “We understand that Autism Friendly Performances can make theatregoing a more accessible and relaxed experience for people with autism as well as their family and friends. Building on the success of the last three Autism Friendly Performances at The Lion King, we are thrilled to continue our partnership with the National Autistic Society in holding our first Autism Friendly Performance at Aladdin this summer, just one year after opening in the West End.”

Daniel Cadey, Autism Access Development Manager 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.”

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 the performance’s website. Tickets are sold at a specially reduced rate and can be selected on a virtual map of the auditorium.

Now in its third record-breaking year on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it has been seen by more than 1.5 million people, Aladdin’s global presence has grown to five productions on three continents. The show is now playing at Tokyo’s Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi, Stage Theatre Neue Flora in Hamburg and Capitol Theatre in Sydney, ahead of moving to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne in April 2017.

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).

Dean John-Wilson plays the role of Aladdin, alongside Jade Ewen as Jasmine, in the new musical based on the classic Academy Award®-winning animated film. Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas makes his London stage debut as Genie and is joined by Don Gallagher as Jafar, Peter Howe as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as the Sultan, Nathan Amzi as Babkak, Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Kassim and Rachid Sabitri as Omar.

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