17 members of the Benevilla Helping Partners Program in Sun City , in cooperation with Theater Works, played to a full house at their Spring stage production of “Beauty & the Beast Jr.” May 21st in the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. Theater Works’ Adaptive Works Program creates these genuine theatrical performance opportunities available to individuals with mental and physical disabilities ages 12 and older.
Through this program, the Benevilla Helping Partners Program (HPP) members played fully costumed and interactive roles in the production, focusing on the performance side of theater, including building and expanding upon fundamental acting skills. The program was facilitated by Adaptive Works staff who are highly trained in working with adults with developmental and intellectual challenges. “Benevilla was so excited by this unique partnership with Theater Works” said Benevilla President and CEO Joanne Thomson. “It was amazing to watch our HPP members grow throughout the course of this wonderful, life enriching opportunity.”
This 11-week theatrical production – from auditions and rehearsals to the full performance of Beauty and the Beast Jr. in front of a live audience began March 12th. The entire program included 10 rehearsals, a multitude of small-group rehearsals as well as a final full cast rehearsal, to prepare for the final live performance.
This program also included educational classes, through which Adaptive Works instructors provide hands-on guidance to the actors on building their acting skills. “The rehearsals were very creative, and our members were so excited to be part of this show. We didn’t realize how much talent and enthusiasm our actors and actresses have” said Deirdre Graham, Director of Life Enrichment for the Benevilla Helping Partners Program.
This project was supported in part by a grant through the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts. Benevilla is proud to say Thank You to the Arizona Commission on the Arts and all the wonderful program donors.
Through the Benevilla Helping Partners Program, adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities can experience volunteer and employment opportunities enabling the program’s members to contribute and make a difference in their communities. In addition, Helping Partners members participate in a wide range of wellness and life skills programs to enrich their lives and promote their independence, as well as their physical, social and emotional well-being. For instance, members enjoy games, creative arts, gardening, community outings, entertainment opportunities and exercise each day. Benevilla is continually incorporating new enrichment activities into the Helping Partners program for our members to enjoy and benefit from.
Theater Works is a nonprofit theater providing the most comprehensive programming of any performing arts organization in the West Valley, drawing more than 130,000 patrons to its programming last season. The program provides opportunities for children, patrons and artists to experience theater that inspires, enriches and enlightens through the experience of the performing arts. Theater Works’ vision is to be a significant cultural resource for Peoria and the West Valley, improving the quality of life through expression and experience of the performing arts.