Call for Youth Artists & Mentors for Inclusive Theatre Production

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 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 to 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. Not to mention, our  mentors will 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  more.  

“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 Questions about the  Informational Night can be sent to