Guys and Dolls, Jr June 23, 24 at 7:00 PM June 25 at 2:00 PM Performed at Sun Prairie High School's Performing Arts Center
The Penguin Project of SPCT is a performing arts program that makes theatre accessible to young people with special needs. Each year, a group of children from all over the greater Madison area take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical. This production is unique because ALL of the roles are filled by children with special needs: cognitive, learning, motor, hearing, and visual impairments, genetic disorders, and neurological disorders. They are joined on the stage by their peer mentors who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through four months of rehearsals and the final production. The mentors are responsible for knowing all of the lines, songs, and blocking of their partners but appear “in the background” to provide direct assistance only as needed. Involvement in the program enhances social interaction, strengthens communication skills and boosts self-confidence. It also provides an opportunity to create lasting friendships and to be a part of the performing arts community. The Penguin Project ® was founded by Dr. Andrew Morgan, a developmental pediatrician and the former Head of the Division of Child Development at the University of Illinois in Peoria. He created The Penguin Project ® recognizing that theatre not only provides children with a valuable recreational experience and an opportunity to display their creative talents, but also enhances social interaction, communication skills, assertiveness, and self-esteem. The Penguin Project ® strives to demonstrate that individuals with special needs are fully capable of participating in community activities with the same dedication and enthusiasm as others, if given opportunity and support. The Penguin Project Foundation was created to replicate Dr. Morgan’s vision in community theatres across the country. There are currently 19 Penguin Projects nationwide, including The Penguin Project of Sun Prairie Civic Theatre.
In June 2016, The Penguin Project of SPCT’s premiere production, Annie Jr., was performed at the Sun Prairie Performing Arts Center, with a “pioneer” cast of 36 artists and mentors.