The SAAC will offer students a unique opportunity to participate in two musical theatre experiences as the summer comes to a close. The MTI Broadway Junior production of “Honk, JR.” will grace the stage for both a week-long Theatre Camp as well as the six-week 2018 Penguin Project.  Registration is now open at the SAAC office.

Students in grades 2-9 can sign up now for “Honk, JR.” Theatre Camp, scheduled for July 23-27. Grades 2-5 will attend from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and grades 6-9 will attend from 1 to 5 p.m., with both groups invited for a camp orientation July 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 pm., and a performance for families on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

After the curtain closes on the camp production, SAAC will launch our first-ever crossover production, by again staging “Honk, JR.”, this time as the 2018 Penguin Project, with Theatre Camp actors and other interested kids ages 12 and up invited to participate as mentors. Penguin will kick off with a week-long Penguin Mini Camp on August 6-10, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Rehearsals will begin the following week, culminating in ticketed performances on September 14 and 15. 

“We hope that as many theatre campers as possible will consider staying with us as mentors for the Penguin Project production as well,” said SAAC Executive Director Laura Allen. “This gives them the opportunity to get to know the project as actors first, which means they will be even better equipped to work with the special needs artists during the Penguin Project, building stronger relationships along the way.” 

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

Started by Dr. Andy Morgan, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of children with special needs who 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 7 locations across the country, including the South Arkansas Arts Center. 

“We are so excited to be welcoming The Penguin Project back to the SAAC stage in 2018,” said Allen. “While we know not every camper will be able to participate as a mentor, and not all our mentors will be available for Penguin camp, we love offering the opportunity.”

For more information about Theatre Camp, sponsored by First Financial Bank, or the Penguin Project, sponsored by LANXESS, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the SAAC at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.