SAAC welcomes the return of The Penguin Project to our stage for another special theatrical production for actors of differing needs and their mentors.

On the heels of SAAC Teen Drama Club’s production of “Disney Frozen, Jr,” The Penguin Project will be performing “Disney Frozen, Kids” on February 10-11, under the direction of Lynn Gunter (left) with Assistant Director Kathy Nielson (center). Music Director will be Cassie Hickman (right) and Mentor Coordinator will be Karen Hicks (not pictured).

“In the spirit of Anna, ‘It’s audition time! It’s audition time!’ After two long years, we are so excited to have the Penguin Project back,” exclaimed musical director Cassie Hickman.

Artists • Grades 3-12
No advance preparation necessary.
Registration Open thru January 3

Mentors • Grades 5-12
No acting experience necessary.
Mentors will be patterned with Artists.

6 Week Rehearsal Schedule.
Tuesday and Thursday, 4-6 pm
Begin January 3

Performance Dates February 10-11, 2023
7:00 pm on Friday
2:00 pm on Saturday

From its starring roles to its ensemble, The Penguin Project allows children with differing needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Each special-needs artist is paired with a mentor of a similar age who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them to learn lines, dances, songs, and stage blocking. Each artist and their mentor operate as a symbiotic pair throughout the entire process, including appearing on stage together.

“The Penguin Project is a performance that comes from the heart,” said Hickman. “The joy of excitement and confidence that exudes from our special-needs artists as they take the stage and as they get to be the stars is a sight I will never get over. The bonds of camaraderie and support between the artists and their mentors isn’t just for the artists. It is also life-changing for the mentors. It has even changed me as a music director. What makes this a work of the heart is seeing how far the artists come and seeing their reactions as they get all the accolades from the audience and parents cheering them on. I’m so excited to see where the journey will take us this year in addition to seeing what new artists and mentors will join us and be forever changed by this experience.”

Founded by Dr. Andy Morgan, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of children with differing needs and has also been actively involved in community theatre, The Penguin Project began 11 years ago in Peoria, Illinois. Today, the program has been spread to locations across the country, including the South Arkansas Arts Center.

For more information about The Penguin Project, sponsored by Entergy, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC at 110 E. 5th Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.