Penguin Project
  • What is the Penguin Project?

    Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at numerous theaters across the country. A group of children in a program called The Penguin Project take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical.  These productions are unique, however, because all the roles are filled by young artists 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 a dedicated group of “peer mentors” – children the same age without disabilities who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them through 4 months of rehearsals and through the final performance.  By providing access to community theater, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability should not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.

    Established in 2004, The Penguin Project has evolved into a National program, with Chapter sites throughout the United States. The program provides a supportive environment for children with disabilities to explore their creative talents.  It has also demonstrated that participation in the performing arts has therapeutic value by enhancing social interaction, communication skills, self-confidence and self-esteem. The impact of the program has reached beyond the stage to create a social network for children who previously had very few friends and limited social opportunities.

    How the Penguin Project Changes Lives

    The Penguin Project not only impacts our audiences while at the theater, it changes lives. Here are some of the facts collected from participants of previous shows:

    • 96% of surveyed artists and mentors reported feeling more proud of themselves since being a part of the Penguin Project.
    • 86% of artists reported improvement in doing things on their own since being a part of the Penguin Project
    • 80% of mentors reported feeling “a lot better” about others being different from themselves since participating in this program.
    • Over 70% of artists reported finding it easier to be friends with kids without disabilities since being a part of the Penguin Project.
    • All participating artists reported improvement in singing, dancing, music, and acting.
    • Over 70% of mentors reported finding it easier to stand up for themselves since being a part of the Penguin Project.
    • 100% of participating parents reported they experienced growth in connections with other families with kids with disabilities, as well as new friendships.
    • 95% of parents reported growth in their knowledge of services and support for individuals with disabilities.
    • 80% of parents reported growth in their children in feeling a sense of belonging.
    • 67% reported their children are now more comfortable speaking in front of a group. 
    • All participating parents of mentors reported their children are more accepting of differences in others since being a part of the Penguin Project.
     

  • Penguin Project Postponed to April 2021

    Dear Penguin Project families:

    Due to the current health crisis felt around the world and in our community, I am terribly saddened that we must delay our treasured Penguin Project performance until April 2021.  The safety and health of our students and staff is our priority and critical to our success.

    IMPORTANT DATES:

         Production Dates:               April  2021

         General Rehearsals:            TBA   

         Mentor Boot Camp:             TBA

         Announce Cast:                  TBA        

         First rehearsal:                   TBA

     

     

     

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Musical Roles
  • *There will be several non-speaking roles available.