What is the Penguin Project?
Established in 2004, Penguin Project gives children with special needs the opportunity to be on stage. All roles in a Penguin Project production are filled with artists with special needs, 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.
What is the production schedule like?
The production starts with an informational meeting in October, where the artists, the peer mentors, the parents, and the production team meet and learn about the program. During the next four months, there are usually 3-4 rehearsals a week that are no longer than 90 minutes. During each rehearsal, each artist has a peer mentor who learns right alongside with him/her. The peer mentors learn all of blocking, lines, and choreography and work with their artist. Some rehearsals are for the ensemble, some are for the leads, but all are fun!
As we get closer to the production dates, rehearsals will move to being for all artists and peer mentors as we get closer to running the show. We have three exciting performances on the weekend of March 6, 7, and 8.
How can you help?
Help us get the word out! Please share this with your friends and family! We want as many parents in the Tampa area as possible to know about this.
Peer Mentors: If you are between the ages of 8 and up and have some theatre on stage experience, we would love to have you involved with the Penguin Project! We will be happy to complete paperwork for community service/volunteer hours for school or church.
Community Members: As this production gets underway, we will need a peer mentor coordinator and technical production team (sets, lights, sound, painters, costumers). We will also need snacks! If you are interested in being on the production team for the Penguin Project, please contact us through messenger or email Nora Paine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors: If you or your business would like sponsor/donate to this special experience, please contact Nora Paine at email@example.com. Our sponsors and donors will be recognized in all of our media, programs, website, and through our social media efforts.
Interested? Please fill out our interest form on the left to join our mailing list and keep up with the latest news!