The Penguin Project
Flagler Playhouse, Inc.
The Penguin Project at the Flagler Playhouse 2023
Marisa Glidden - Director
Ashley Carlton - Music Director
Noel Bethea - Choreographer
Jerri Berry - Production Coordinator
Christina Miller - Mentor Coordinator
Penguins are glorious birds that cannot fly; however, they adapt to their
environment and can soar!
There are 54 Chapters of the Penguin Project nationwide and Flagler Playhouse is one of 4 Chapters in the state of Florida.
This year at Flagler Playhouse, a group of children in a program called The Penguin Project© will take to stage to perform the musical production of Annie, Jr. All of the roles will be filled by children with disabilities – known as our Penguin Stars. Why Penguins? Penguins are glorious birds that cannot fly; however, they adapt to their environment and can soar! This project is open to any individual age 8 to 21 with a disability (cognitive, learning, motor, hearing, and visual impairments; genetic disorders; and neurological conditions).
Penguin Stars will be joined on stage by their “peer mentors” (a group of students the same age without disabilities) who will work side-by-side to guide the Stars through 4 months of rehearsals and the final production. There is no cost to our Stars or Mentors
The Penguin Project was conceived by Dr. Andrew Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. He has been the primary medical specialist for children with special needs in Central Illinois for over 30 years and has also been an active participant in live theatre since he was in high school. Through his professional contact with his patients and their families, he recognized that children with special needs and their families are often isolated, and have limited opportunities to participate in community activities, especially when programs need to make accommodations for special challenges. He also realized that participation in the performing arts has specific therapeutic value by enhancing socialization, communication skills, and self-esteem. So, in 2004, he decided to combine his two passions and The Penguin Project was born.
Goals of Penguin Project:
Provide an opportunity for children with special needs to develop creative skills related to the theater arts
Provide an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in a community theater experience
Facilitate interaction between children with special needs and their age-level peers through joint participation in a community theater experience
Facilitate an appreciation of the challenges faced by children with special needs and their families
Identify the impact of a community theater experience on the communication skills, socialization, and self-esteem of children with special needs
Facilitate interaction among medical, developmental, educational, and theater professionals through participation in a common community project
Provide a forum for support and interaction for families of children with special needs
Thank you to our
Help our "Penguins Soar"
$25 - $99
Jim and Lisa
Paul and Sande' Stroth
Randy and Marjory Morehouse
Robert and Becky Gleason
Sara J. Riley,