• Call for Youth Artists & Mentors for Inclusive Theatre Production

    Memorial Opera House Foundation, in partnership with The Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana
    in Valparaiso and The Penguin Project®, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing
    theatrical opportunities for differently-abled children have announced a callout for artists and
    mentors. The first-ever, inclusive theatre production in Indiana, Annie Jr., will premier on September 23
    and 24, 2023, setting the stage for fun and acceptance for families of children with different abilities.
    Directors Lindsey Elderkin and Heather Chaddock invite artists with developmental differences and
    mentors who will help teach and perform alongside the artists at an Informational Night on Monday,
    April 24, from 6-7:30 PM at The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana – Valparaiso Club,
    located at 708 Evans Ave, Valparaiso, Indiana, 46383.

    Elderkin said, “As a mom of twins, with one of my daughters on the Autism Spectrum, I’m so grateful
    this outlet now exists in our community. Candidly, there have been times where we’ve felt a little
    socially isolated because of my daughter’s differences, and I’m sure other parents and siblings have
    felt the same. This production allows developmentally different kids time to be with their peers in an
    accepting environment while also nurturing social skills and creative talents. Our mentors will also learn compassion, patience, and the gift of new friendship.”

    The Informational Night will provide details to parents about registration, the rehearsal process, and
    performances. It will also serve as a test-run rehearsal for artists and mentors with music, games, and
    “We are encouraging artists with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD
    and ADHD, learning disabilities, or other neurological or developmental disorders to come out and
    have fun. Learning how to express yourself artistically, and having the chance to do so, is an important
    part of growing up. We are so excited to offer this experience in an inclusive, accessible environment
    for local families,” said Chaddock.

    All rehearsals and performances will be held at the new Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana in
    Valparaiso. Differently-abled artists should be ages 8-21. Volunteer mentors should be age 18 and
    under. There is no cost to participate.

    For more information about the Penguin Project, visit penguinproject.org. Questions about the
    Informational Night can be sent to penguinproject@memorialoperahouse.com.

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