Arizona Theatre Company Partners With Chapel Haven West to Empower Adults With Developmental, Social Disabilities

Arizona Theatre Company Partners With Chapel Haven West to Empower Adults With Developmental, Social Disabilities

Three students from Chapel Haven West, a nonprofit organization that empowers adults with developmental and social disabilities to live independent, happy lives, will spend the 2018-2019 season learning hands-on skills, being introduced to theatre's creative process and being mentored by Arizona Theatre Company staff and administration as part of an ongoing partnership.

"Each student from Chapel Haven West who has had the honor of working with the Arizona Theatre Company team has grown beyond our highest expectations," said Chapel Haven West Executive Director Ken Hosto. "They have eagerly developed the ability to live independently through enriching opportunities for competitive employment while developing their appreciation for the arts, their community and the joy of meaningful service to others. Our Chapel Haven West adults are infinitely better equipped to face their upcoming challenges because of the opportunities provided through Arizona Theatre Company."

Chapel Haven West matches adults 18 years and older with mild developmental disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum with organizations like Arizona Theatre Company for year-long internships.

Chapel Haven West students Anderson Smith, Hunter Nall and Matt Margolis will work alongside ATC staff in lighting, sound, painting, carpentry, costumes and education as well as with ATC administrative departments. They also will sit in on rehearsals and attend productions to "be exposed to the entire creative process of each show," said ATC Director of Learning & Education Israel Jiménez.

"This hands-on interaction allows the students to put the skills and knowledge they are learning in classes into practice," Jiménez said. "We are excited to see where their journey with Arizona Theatre Company takes them."

This season's internship partnership is supported in part by the Rosemary Kennedy Initiatives for Young People with Disabilities through the Kennedy Center. The Rosemary Kennedy Initiative supports organizations providing transition opportunities including internships, apprenticeships and pre-professional training in the arts, arts education and arts management for youth between ages 15 and 22.

The students are currently involved in preparations for Arizona Theatre Company's next production, Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End, by Margaret Engel and Allison Engel, directed by Casey Stangl (Tucson: Oct. 20-Nov. 10). Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End will be followed byThe Music Man, Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson, Book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by David Ivers (Tucson: Dec. 1-30). Two Trains Running, by August Wilson, directed by Lou Bellamy (Tucson: Jan. 19-Feb. 9); American Mariachi, by José Cruz González (Tucson: March 9-30) and Things I Know to be True, by Andrew Bovell, directed by Mark Clements (Tucson: April 20-May 11).

For more information about Arizona Theatre Company productions and educational opportunities or to purchase tickets, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

Photo by Jasmine Roth; L-R - Hunter Nall, Chapel Haven West Job Coach Elise Gregory, Matt Margolis

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