Apr 19


Big Umbrella Festival

Photo by Jessica Wyld

  • Show & Tell
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How can the power of the arts be harnessed to impact young people on the autism spectrum—as audience members and artists?

9:00 am–6:00 pm

Join Lincoln Center Education as we investigate and discuss the ways in which leaders from around the world are harnessing the power of the arts—including theater, film, digital media, and architectural installation—to open up new experiences for children with autism and their families. Featuring a keynote presentation, panel discussion, video, and conversation, participants will join leaders in the field to explore best practices, analyze successes, and identify the challenges related to artistic work that impact the autism community at large.


Panel 1 – Creating Theater Especially for Audiences with Autism

Panel conversation and video excerpts from three companies showcased at the Big Umbrella Festival:

Trusty Sidekick Theater Company (US)

Oily Cart (UK)

Sensorium Theatre (AUS)


Panel 2 – Creating Theater with Young People on the Spectrum

Panel conversation with expert practitioners:

Tessa Derfner, Assistant Principal of Special Education, Nest+m

Aaron Feinstein, Executive Director & Founder, Actionplay

Elaine Hall, Founder & Creative Director, The Miracle Project

Arielle Lever, Co-Founder & Programs Director, CO/LAB Theater Group


Panel 3 – The Intersection of the Arts and Autism

Presentations on the intersection of the arts and autism, followed by a Q&A

Featured Speakers:

Sean Ahlquist, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Maria Rocio Galarza, Assistant Vice President, U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop

Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs, Theatre Development Fund

Mickey Rowe, Actor and Autism Activist

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