Creating Access to Community Theatre for Young Artists with Special Needs

This production is unique because all of the featured roles are filled by young people (ages 10-21) with developmental disabilities including down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, ADD/ADHD, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, and other neurological disorders. For the Penguin Project, these young people are called "artists."


The artists are joined on stage by their peer mentors, a group of students (ages 12-21) without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through 3.5 months of rehearsals and the final production. By creating unrestricted access to the performing arts, The Penguin Project® demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.

Our penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring.

To learn more about the Penguin Project, visit their site here.

Please join our Facebook Group: CUTC's Penguin Project


COVID-19 Policy: New artists and mentors will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status prior to the informational meeting. New artists/mentors not fully vaccinated must test within 72 hours of attending the information session and present a negative test. Home tests are acceptable.

Returning artists/mentors will not be attending an informational meeting so they must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination at the first rehearsal. 

Any artists/mentors not fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly and present a negative test beginning with the first rehearsal through the run of the show. Home tests are acceptable.

At this time, masking will be required for everyone at informational meetings and rehearsals. These policies are subject to change. 




 Mentor Application (ages 12-21)

Blue And White Colorful Children's Imagination Illustration International Children's Book

We are thrilled to announce this year's production: PURE IMAGINATION,

a brand new musical revue featuring a variety of songs from favorite MTI Junior musicals such as Shrek, Seussical, Annie, Peter Pan, Willy Wonka, Honk!,

Matilda, Frozen, and more!! With plenty of solo and ensemble opportunities for everyone, this revue is filled with fun characters who sing and dance their stories.

The production will be led by Jaclyn Loewenstein (director), Courtney Davies (choreographer), Penny Stephenson-Woolwine (music director), Cindy Kelly and McKenna Carrell  (artist/mentor coordinators), and Beth Caughlin (stage manager).

REHEARSALS/COMMITMENT:  We will rehearse twice a week throughout the summer and early fall: Sunday evenings and Wednesday late afternoon or evening. On your application, please list all known conflicts from June 1–September 18.

Your responses will help us finalize our schedule!

We expect that everyone will have some conflicts over these 3.5 months, but if you anticipate more than 6 absences, this may affect your child’s success and ability to keep up with the material being taught. Rehearsal location is: Sinai Temple, 3104 Windsor Rd., Champaign.

We are still awaiting confirmation regarding performance dates and venue. (which will be within the first several weeks of September). We will share details as soon as possible! Questions: email penguinproject@cutheatreco.org


All potential NEW artists and mentors are required to attend one of our INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS

(with a guardian if under age 18).

Please choose one:

Sunday, May 1 or Wednesday, May 4

6:00 pm at Sinai Temple, 3104 Windsor Rd., Champaign

Please check your preferred date on your application. 

Colorful Quote Calendar.png


Frozen1 (1).jpg


Disney's Frozen, Jr.



Disney's High School Musical, Jr.



Disney's Mulan, Jr.



Disney's Aladdin, Jr.

Artistic Sponsors

Meyer Capel.jpg