The Penguin Project is a musical theater production that is unique because all of the roles are filled by children with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders. They are joined on stage by their “peer mentors”, a group of children the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through 4 months of rehearsals and the final production.
For more background and history visit the Pengin Project Home Page.
Participants fall into two categories - artists and mentors.
Artists are children and young adults with disabilities and special needs between the ages of 10 and 22. Artists are cast in all of the lead and supporting roles of the production. If you are unsure if your child meets these guidelines, don't hesitate to contact us to learn more. Artists should be 10-22 years.
Mentors must be at least 10 years old; the upper limit is usually through high school (age 18), but individuals who have been part of the program can continue up to age 22. The peer-mentors work side-by-side with their partners, assisting them throughout the entire rehearsal process and on stage. The mentors are responsible for knowing all of the lines, songs, and blocking of their partners. They are on-stage during the production, costumed to match or compliment their partners. They participate in the group production numbers, but are trained to remain “in the background” and provide direct assistance to their partner only as needed.
Our production for 2011 will be The Music Man Junior. This is a slightly shorter version of the Broadway show that is typically staged by junior high school students and children's theater groups.
Our show will be staged at Sycamore High School in September. Dates are September 16, 17, & 18, 2011.
Rehearsals will begin in May and continue through the summer. We will start with one rehearsal a week and slowly build up to about three a week. Not all participants will be required at every rehearsal - it will depend on what scenes we are working on. Most rehearsal sessions will be limited to 90 minutes and all will end with a social activity. Rehearsals will be at the First United Methodist Church in DeKalb.
CCT has been around and staging shows in one form or another for nearly 50 years. For this undertaking we are pulling together a team of local theater veterans and special educational professionals
who will help us ensure that this is a fun, safe and memorable experience for all involved. We will also be assisted by the originators of this program who have been doing Penguin Project shows for six years in Peoria.
As stated by the creators of the program, he goals of the Penguin Project are:
1) To provide an opportunity for children with disabilities to develop creative skills related to the theater arts
2) To provide an opportunity for children with disabilities to participate in a community theater experience
3) To facilitate interaction between children with disabilities and their age-level peers through joint participation in a community theater experience
4) To facilitate an appreciation of the challenges faced by children with disabilities and their families
5) To identify the impact of a community theater experience on the communication skills, socialization, and self confidence/self esteem of children with disabilities
6) To facilitate interaction among medical, developmental, educational, and theater professionals through participation in a common community project
7) To provide a forum for support and interaction for families of children with disabilities
That has yet to be determined. Our goal is to make this project as affordable as possible. A typical CCT shows requires a one-time Show Fee not-to-exceed $25, and perhaps a costuming fee of $10 to $25.
The origin of the name "Penguin Project" comes from the unique characteristics of penguins. They are extremely playful and curious, and work well together. More importantly they have a "disability" that distinguishes them from other birds - they can't fly!! Instead, penguins waddle and toboggan on their bellies over the snow, and are excellent swimmers. So, like our young artists, they have adapted to the challenges of their environment and have not allowed their unique differences to interfere with their lives.
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Or give us a call at 815-893-9447