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'Judgment Free' Lion King Performance Planned For Autistic Audience

BOSTON (CBS) – Hakuna Matata.

It's a phrase made famous in the Disney movie The Lion King that means "no worries." In October, there will be no worries inside the Boston Opera House for individuals and families impacted by autism.

The New England chapter of Autism Speaks is teaming up with Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway in Boston to provide an "autism-friendly" performance of The Lion King on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.

During the matinee performance, house lights will be at half capacity, sounds will be at a lower intensity, there will be no strobe lights, and the only people in attendance will be those in need of a "sensory-free show" along with their family and friends.

The atmosphere will create what organizers call a "judgment free" experience.

"The main theme of this is equal access. What we're trying to do is give people who are impacted by autism the same opportunity everyone else has to go to a show," Russ Kenn, the Executive Director of the New England Chapter of Autism Speaks, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

"That's what creates the judgment free environment. Everyone knows what each other is dealing with. They don't have to explain that 'My child has autism. I'm sorry he kicked your seat or is wandering around.'"

Specially priced tickets to the show are available starting at $25 and ranging to $95.

"It's a sensory friendly performance specifically designed so kids can have a great day at the theater," said Broadway in Boston President Rich Jaffe.

For more information on the performance, visit the Autism Speaks website.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Autism-Friendly Lion King Performance


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