Lauren Goldman Marshall
author, playwright, director


Theater of

Theater of Possibility - Rehearsal for Living
Finding Yourself through Acting and Improv

Video Sample: Check out this video of TOP youth performing at SPU, March, 2014.

Theater of Possibility is highlighted in the October 2017 issue of Seattle's Child in Valuing Difference, about innovative programs for kids on the autism spectrum.  

See below for Fall 2017 Classes in Seattle and Bellevue: 

Come Explore the Possibilities! Theater of Possibility ("TOP") helps young people give voice to their ideas and dreams! Through fun and zany theater games, improv exercises and role-playing, we explore the dynamics of friendship, family and school. Along the way, we shape powerful emotions and ideas into moving, profound and funny works of theater.

Social skills are inherent in what we do, but TOP classes are playful and non-didactic. Relationship topics such as making and keeping friends, responses to bullying or exclusion, peer pressure and social injustice, might be explored through the creative genres of a fantasy, sci-fi or absurdist comedy.

We practice flexibility, non-verbal communication, recognizing social nuances, and perspective taking, collaboration and leadership. But the primary focus is on creativity and collaboration. I want to give students tools to better understand relationship dynamics and empower themselves, but rather than deign to teach students how to conform to societal norms, I aim to give them a voice to teach the world!

Who: TOP serves children, youth and adults who are interested in using theater to explore and express themselves more fully and authentically. We welcome students who are quirky, spirited or shy, or who may have Asperger's, autism, ADHD, or other learning or ability differences. TOP promotes an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for each person's unique gifts.

Note: Students must be able to participate in structured group activities or come with an aide. The first class of each session is an introductory class to make sure it is a good fit for all.

Now registering for Fall 2017 Classes in Seattle and Bellevue:

After school classes at Seattle's University Heights Center:

2017 Seattle classes start the last week of September and run through mid-December at University Heights Center, 5031 University Way NE, Seattle, 98105. Programs will each culminate with a potluck and evening performance.

Kids/Tweens (ages 8–13): Tuesdays, 4:15-5:45 PM, Sept 26–Dec 12 (skipping Halloween). Last class goes 4–8 PM for potluck & family showcase. Cost: $412.50 (11 class days).

Teen/Adults (ages 14 and older): Thursdays, 4:15–5:45 PM, Sept 28–Dec 14 + Friday Dec 15 (skipping Thanksgiving). Last class on Friday, Dec 15 goes 4–8 PM for potluck & family showcase. Cost: $450 (12 class days)

Contact Lauren Marshall to register. Partial scholarships and pay-what-you-can available. TOP is a DSHS respite care provider.

Saturday classes for kids, teens and adults at Bellevue Youth Theatre:
For the second year, Lauren will also be offering classes at Bellevue Youth Theatre-Crossroads, 16051 NE 10th St., Bellevue, WA 98008, on Saturday mornings. The next session will start Sept 16 and go through mid January with breaks for the holidays. (Note: there will be no classes on 10/28, 11/25, 12/16, 12/23 or 12/30).  

Kids/Tweens (ages 8-13): Saturdays, 9:10–10:20 AM, Sept 16–Jan 20 (skipping dates listed above). Last class goes 9–Noon for potluck & family showcase. (14 class days)

Teen/Adults (ages 14 and older): Saturdays, 10:30–Noon, Sept 26–Jan 20 + Sunday Jan 21 (skipping dates listed above). Note: Class on Jan 20 will go 12:30–2 to accommodate younger kids performance. Last class on Sunday, Jan 21 goes 10:30–2:30 for potluck & family showcase. (15 class days)  

Thanks to support from the city of Bellevue and the Bellevue Youth Theatre Foundation, Nikki Fox Fund, the Bellevue classes are offered free to Bellevue residents and at a reduced tuition of $150 for non-Bellevue residents.

For both the Seattle and Belleuve classes, students who qualify for DSHS community services respite care may be able to get their tuition covered.

Contact Sheila Framke at Belleuve Youth Theater to register, and Lauren Marshall for more information about program content

Here is what some parents have said about TOP:

"The real triumph for me was watching Alex. Thought you'd like to know that he has had an INTENSE fear of speaking or even appearing in front of other people. When he was the stage manager in high school he would even refuse to be acknowledged on stage at the end of a performance. I cried through his entire performance. He even improvised - pure magic!"
- Jonibeth Whitney, mother of a 20 year old TOP actor

"[My son's] mental rigidity has given way to flexibility and a new found ability to function within a group. His self-esteem is soaring and the class has become an anchor for life. He marveled aloud that “Lauren could bring together such different kinds of kids and have us get along so well.”
Susan Moffitt, mother of a 17 year old TOP actor.

"My daughter was able to actually see and experience choices for turning a potentially hurtful social interaction into a beneficial one. Theater of Possibility, is, as they say, a rehearsal for living."
- Ann Morrow, mother of a 13 year old TOP actor.

"My daughter…is the NT sibling. Her brother is HFA. It was a great experience for her. Besides just being fun, it gave her the chance to see how other kids with different abilities are (and how they feel about situations in life) instead of only having her little brother as a reference. I think this is a very powerful tool for our kids. It’s a fun way to learn how to deal with some of the social difficulties that our kids face."
- Barbary El Naby, mother of a 12 year old TOP actor

"He loved it. It was the first class/activity that he has done and not worried about going to: he felt very safe and enjoyed it. He especially enjoyed the performances.."
- Holly Tabor, mother of a 7 year old TOP actor

Also, since 2014, Lauren has been teaching a Theater of Possibility program to youth living in Sand Point Housing. This is a joint project of Solid Ground and Seattle Music Theater, and supported by a Youth Arts Award from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and a grant from the Windermere Foundation.


Ways to be involved with TOP:

1. Register for a class (see above).

2. Inquire about volunteering. We seek capable and compassionate teens and adults to participate as student interns and teaching assistants. Community service credit may be available through your high school.

3. Custom-design a workshop for your school or group. Lauren can provide a custom-designed workshop of any length, from 90 minutes to 30 hours, or anything in between in your venue, tailored to general or specific themes. Social skills themes, for example, might focus on inclusion, anti-bullying, risk reduction or self-empowerment. Literary themes might include playwriting, adapting fiction for the stage, or creative generative theater through group improv and collaboration. Lauren has been selected for the Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster for teaching artists working in the public schools. Seattle Public Schools in the Central Pathway are eligible for grants for teaching artists on the roster. More info is available here.

4. Book the TOP youth troupe. Bring the teen/young adult TOP troupe to your school or community for a custom-designed interactive theater workshop on the topic of your choice. This powerful video captures TOP youth giving a powerful performance to theater arts educators at SPU on what can go wrong in a class when teachers don't understand autism.

5. Inquire about workshops, trainings and master classes for adults. Lauren offers weekend intensive workshops by invitation and independently for educators, therapists, parents and other adults wanting to learn these techniques. See below for recent partnerships.


Articles about TOP:

The Rude Princess: Sand Point Housing youth reach for the TOP

Check out the January 2013 issue of Seattle's Child for a feature article on Theater of Possibility's program for yotuh with ASD and other ability differences. A nice article also appeared in September 2012 in the neighborhood blog Wallyhood.

Also check out these blogs by Susan Moffitt, TOP parent:

Theater of Possibility - partnerships:

  • Weekend master class. California State University Northridge
  • Youth demonstration: Seattle Children's Hospital, Neurodevelopmental team
  • Youth demonstration: American Alliance for Theater in Education Conference, Seattle Pacific University
  • School partnerships: Laurelhurst Elementary, Arbor Heights Elementary
  • Co-Instructor, Hero's Journey video production camps, Redmond Parks & Recreation
  • Classes and/or summer camps: Youth Theatre Northwest; Sand Point Housing, co-sponsored by Solid Ground, Magnuson Community Center and Seattle Musical Theatre; and Bellevue Youth Theatre
  • Guest artist workshops: Silver Kite, Sammamish Arts Council, Northwest School, Plymouth Congregational Church, Middle East Peace Camp, Learn-to-Succeed
  • Training workshops for educators: Antioch University and Western Washington State University
  • Presentations at the North American Drama Therapy Association Conference, Seattle, 2016; Boston, 2017.

Thank you to the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Youth Arts Awards, 201214 & 2015-17, and Arc of Snohomish County for their support of TOP.

Theater of Possibility:

Rehearsing Social Skills through Acting and Improv

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Original Material and Coding Copyright © 2010–17 by Lauren Goldman Marshall. All Rights Reserved.