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Theatre for Everyone

May 30, 2023

This season, FST launched an exciting new theatrical collaboration with The Haven, a non-profit serving children, teens, and adults with disabilities.

The two organizations partnered to create a new participatory theatre program designed to teach adults with disabilities the fundamentals of acting, movement, and self-expression. Participants are directly involved in the theatre-making process, exploring character development, dialogue, and story structure. This May, Haven students showcased their hard work by performing a devised theatrical show written and developed by Haven participants with the support of FST’s artistic and education staff.

“I love being with my friends on stage,” said Alfred, a 64-year-old program participant. “We love it when people get up to sing with us, and a lot of people come to the theatre to watch us perform.”

FST continues its work with The Haven this summer, engaging participants in six more weeks of workshops that will also culminate with a live performance as part of FST’s Public Works Project.

Founding support for this new program comes from dedicated FST supporters Wendy and Bob Grady.

“For us, this program is personal,” said the Gradys. “We have a daughter with special needs. We have seen how, with the right resources and support, people with all types of challenges can lead rich, fulfilling lives. When we learned about The Haven and their mission, we knew that we wanted to connect them with FST, another organization close to our hearts.”

Since 1992, FST has offered theatre classes to individuals with physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral challenges, completely free of charge, through the VIP Performing Arts Program. For several years, the VIP Program has been at capacity. Through this new partnership, FST is able to serve more students with disabilities than ever before through the art of theatre.

“With this new program, participants are not only learning the fundamentals of acting, but they are learning how to express themselves in ways they may never have before,” said Kate Alexander, FST Associate Director At-Large and Founder of The FST School. “The theatre is about creating an artistic home for your heart. The theatre asks each one of us to take a lens, to look inside, and share our feelings. By doing this, we grow in empathy, compassion and in the ability to empathize with ourselves. That is what we work to share with our partners at The Haven.”

For more information about The FST School, click here.

Header Image: Participants in FST and The Haven's new program. Photo by John Jones.