The Penguin Project

96th Season Penguin Project

The Penguin Project

About The Penguin Project

The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre is proud to be a replication site for the nationally acclaimed The Penguin Project. The Penguin Project was conceived in 2004 by Dr. Andrew Morgan to give children with special needs an opportunity to participate in the performing arts. Dr. Andy, as he is affectionately known, is the founder and director of the Penguin Project. He is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Pediatrics and the former Head of the Division of Child Development at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. He has been the primary medical specialist in Central Illinois involved in the diagnosis and treatment of children with disabilities for over 35 years. 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. We are proud to be a replication site for such an inclusive program.

In a Penguin Project production, participants are referred to as “Penguins.” Penguin performers include two groups: Artists, are differently-abled participants who perform on stage with their respective Mentor (buddy) as support. The artist takes on all the lines, solos, and choreography, showcasing their abilities in the spotlight. Meanwhile, the mentor assists and supports the artist throughout the rehearsal process and performs side by side with the artist on stage during the show. Mentors are actively involved in the singing and dancing during group numbers, and they commit to helping their buddy shine in the spotlight while learning their assigned role. This pairing, celebrates everyone onstage and fosters friendship-building across all abilities.

The Penguin Project is an incredibly rewarding experience, not just for the artists and mentors, but also for the audience. It is a beautiful display of inclusivity and creativity, showcasing the unique talents of differently-abled performers. If you are looking for a chance to be a part of a safe, inclusive, and rewarding theatre experience, The Penguin Project might be just what you’re looking for!