Penguin Project Peoria Chapter prepares for weekend shows

PEORIA PENGUIN PROJECT(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:15 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Peoria’s Penguin Project is returning to the stage this weekend.

The Penguin Project is an all inclusive show, for all abilities. This production is unique because all of the roles are filled by children 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 their “peer mentors”, a group of children the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through 4 months of rehearsals and the final production.

The Penguin Project will be performing ‘Newsies JR.’ Friday Jan. 14 through Sunday Jan. 16. at East Peoria High School.

The group was founded with the goal of allowing unrestricted access to the performing arts for children with developmental disabilities. Its founder Andrew Morgan says it’s a privilege to have started the program.

“I’ve been doing theatre most of my life. I’ve been involved with kids with special needs most of my life. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s just wonderful to be the catalyst to see so many wonderful things happen, not just in Peoria, but all around the country,” Morgan said.

The cast will perform Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online, through the box office (309) 699-7469, and will be available at the door one hour prior to each show. Masks are required inside the venue.

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