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The Hobby Center Foundation Offers Special Autism-Friendly Performance of Disney's THE LION KING


July 9, 2012 - HOUSTON, TX

The Hobby Center Foundation will present a special performance of Disney's THE LION KING for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families on Saturday, July 28 at 2:00 p.m., as part of the Hobby Center Foundation Autism Theatre Initiative. This marks the first ever autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show outside of New York City and only the third ever offered.

Modeled after a successful performance of THE LION KING sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway last October, the autism-friendly performance will provide a friendly and supportive environment for the audience. Slight adjustments to the production will be implemented, including the reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. In addition, the Hobby Center lobby will offer quiet spaces and activity areas for families while trained staff and volunteers will provide encouragement and assistance to patrons. Families can also prepare ahead of time by reviewing materials available on the Hobby Center website at www.thehobbycenter.org.

"Our mission is to make art accessible to everyone and I'm incredibly proud of the Advisory Committee and our Board for bringing this performance to a population that is underrepresented in the arts community," said Fran Macferran, president and executive director of the Hobby Center. "As Houston is only the second city to provide this type of show, we are putting forth every effort to make this a memorable event for the families, with the hope that its success will lead to other accessibility projects in the future."

With guidance from TDF, an Advisory Committee made up of local medical, educational and parent advisors will lead the Hobby Center in the development and implementation of this program. The committee will be involved in all aspects of the project, including identifying and reaching the appropriate audiences, developing alternative activity and quiet areas during the performance and recruiting volunteers.

"What the Hobby Center and Disney's THE LION KING are doing for individuals on the autism spectrum is unparalleled," said Dr. Bryant Shaw, director of the Monarch Institute Diagnostic Clinic. "They are creating a safe environment for children and their families to enjoy live theatre -- something that is often out of the reach of many of these families as performance spaces have historically not been a comfortable place for them."

The Hobby Center Foundation Autism Theatre Initiative independently raised all the funds to underwrite expenses related to the performance. Good seats to this performance are still available and can be purchased on the Hobby Center website at www.thehobbycenter.org/LKAutismFriendlyShow.

Media Contact
Kate Withall
Elmore Public Relations
Kate@elmorepr.com
(713) 524-0661

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