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The Florida Repertory Theatre’s Education Department is holding a 12-week course for autistic children, according to an article in Fort Myers Weekly.
The program, called Acting Up, begins February 23 2009, with a special screening of the HBO film, “Autism: The Musical.”
The documentary was the inspiration for the project. The film tells the story of a group of families whose autistic kids create and perform a piece of musical theater.
That program was prompted by one mom’s desire to create a positive experience for her child — as well as others living with this challenge.
The musical led to a program called The Miracle Project.
Autism is a perplexing and complex condition; it affects 1 in 150 children in the US.
Donna Roberts, an environmental educator and former public TV producer, as well as the mom of a child on the autism spectrum, happened to see the film last April during Autism Awareness Month.
Our babysitter, Silvia, saw the show on HBO and told me I had to see it. Out of curiosity, I Googled the film, expecting to watch a brief trailer.
Ninety minutes later, I had viewed the film in its entirety, and through a mixture of tears and laughter, began contacting friends to tell them about it. I knew we had to do something. I just didn’t know what.
Roberts approached Florida Rep about mounting a screening, but after just a few meetings, a partnership was formed.
Rachel Burttram, one of Florida Rep’s Associate Directors, led the effort. The course was shaped with professional feedback from a number of regional specialists who offered their services pro bono.
The course will focus on applied theater techniques and exercises in a one-on-one environment. It will include exercises that involve mirroring, partnering and mask work, as well as musical play and socialization.
Says Burttram, “Kids engage in an amazing way. This is an opportunity for them to be really free!”
Information on Florida Rep’s 12-week course for children on the autism spectrum can be had at by calling the Rep’s Education Department at 239-332-4665, ext. 20. Limited availability. Visit their site at http://www.floridarep.org/.
sole source: online at www.fortmyers.floridaweekly.com on 2/18/09.
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