THE PENGUIN PROJECT OF SPCT
gives artists with special needs in the greater Madison area the experience of performing and the opportunity to soar on stage. For when we don't stop believin', magic happens.
performing arts for young people with special needs
Each year, a group of youths 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 young people 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 the stage by their peer mentors who volunteer 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. And, they appear “in the background” to provide direct assistance to the artists only as needed.
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.
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 performances are magical and touching. And, they demonstrate special needs should not handicap a person's ability to participate in life's experiences.
history of The Penguin Project
Established in 2004, The Penguin Project has evolved into a national program with chapters throughout the United States. As of 2021, there were 43 chapters. The SPCT chapter was the ninth chapter to be established.
The Penguin Project was founded by Dr. Andrew Morgan in Peoria, Illinois. For over 35 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis and treatment of children with disabilities for over 35 years. In his spare time, he has been actively involved in community theatre for more than 30 years as a director and performer.
Dr. Morgan created The Penguin Project to combine his passion for theatre with his professional expertise. He wanted to give children with special needs the opportunity to experience the performing arts. With the encouragement and support of Penguin parents, he developed a process to bring the program to communities throughout the country.
To learn more about The Penguin Project, visit penguinproject.org.
Sun Prairie Civic Theatre is a community of volunteers sharing their time and talent to educate people of all ages in the experience of live theater on stage, backstage and in the audience.