The country has a total of 50 projects, but in Nebraska, there are only two Penguin Projects. One is located in South Sioux City, and the other location is in Lincoln. From April 28 to May 1, the group in Siouxland performed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Karen Brink, a parent of an actress, spoke about how the program allows everyone to participate in the art of acting.
“It’s an interactive theater program for able-bodied, disabled people to come together and put on a show where the kids who have a disability are actually the stars of the show,” said Brink.
Mentors help assist the crews during rehearsals and shows.
“The awesome mentor who helps in any way they possibly can. If you forget, you know, we forget lines or whatever, they’re always there to kind of queue,” said Camdyn Meier, the actor who played Willy Wonka.
“Penguin Project is probably more relaxed than a regular theater because, again, the product is not the end. It’s not what we are looking for, and so rehearsals are fun and every rehearsal to me is uplifting,” explained Play Director Deb Morgan.
As a parent, Brink expressed how the program has helped her daughter learn to work with others.
“My daughter is actually an adult now. She started out with the Penguin Project. This year she took on both a role as an artist, but she’s also the assistant director. She’s developed her leadership abilities while she’s been in this program,” said Brink.
Meier noted the program helps show another side to disabled people, and that they are able to do things that the crowd might not even expect.
Learn more about the project by clicking here.