Special needs actors perform at local theatre

Posted at 9:20 PM, Feb 26, 2016

When the curtain rolls back on March 4th you'll see a group of kids who've worked tirelessly to create their own rendition of The Music Man Jr.

This time, Clark Youth Theatre took children with developmental delays and peer mentors to create this comedic musical.


The Penguin Project kids are preparing to open their first production next week! It has been a joy to work with these...

Posted by Clark Youth Theatre on Friday, February 26, 2016

"I would say it's opened new doors for me" Kali Braithwaite, told us. "Just being able to do theater for the first time and just being able to do it again. This environment is comfortable for me," 

Kali is part of a program called The Penguin Project. It's an organization unique in Oklahoma that pairs special needs students with peer mentors, for stage productions. 

The organization has showed kids like Kali they can do more than they first thought. She says before The Music Man she hadn't been much of a singer, but now her voice fills the theater.

The program isn't only a benefit to special needs students, however. For Abigail Cox, Kali's mentor, it was equally as inspiring. 

"I was trying to find something that I could interact with more people and be able to just have a friend and help them out and act," she said. "It's been really fun hanging out with her."

For parents, they say they have seen their children blossom on the stage in ways they wouldn't be capable of without it.

"It brings my heart joy," said Raquisha Hurt, the mother of another Penguin Project participant. "Collin is a very outgoing person when you get to know who he is and it's helped him to make new friends and basically I've realized he may have a gifting in theater"

You can buy tickets for their performances online. They run $13 for adults and $10 for kids and seniors. The Music Man Jr. runs for three performances from March 4-March 6 at Booker T. Washington High School.

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