At Northern Starz, we welcome everyone. To ensure there is a place in our programming for every student, we've brought the Penguin Project to our community. Read on to learn more.
Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at numerous theaters across the country. A group of children in a program called The Penguin Project take to the stage to perform a modified version of a musical, often even a well-known Broadway show. These productions are unique, however, because all the roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities 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 four months of rehearsals and through the final performance.
The Penguin Project began in 2004 in Peoria, Illinois under the direction of Andy Morgan. Since the project's beginning, it has grown to support multiple chapters across many states. The project's goals include providing opportunity for children with special needs to participate in theater and develop creative skills.
In 2017, the Penguin Project was honored with the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Watch this video or visit the Penguin Project website to learn more about the national program.
Northern Starz is proud to be the first Minnesota theatre as a replication site for Penguin Project. The first annual project was held in 2018. Now, Northern Starz is now in the process of setting up satellite programs to reach even more students across the state.
Please contact Michelle at Michelle.Sharon@northernstarz.org with any inquiries about The Northern Starz Penguin Project.