Theater of Possibility - Rehearsal for Living
TOP parodies behavioral therapy: Check out this video excerpt from Autism Therapy for Neuro-typicals, by Jackie Moffitt, performed at The Intersections Festival, Seattle, March, 2018. Length: 5:51 min.
TOP uses forum theater to educate teachers on how to create a more inclusive classroom: Here is a video excerpt of TOP youth performing You Don't Have to Freak Out, by Lauren Marshall & the ensemble, at Seattle Pacific University, March, 2014. Length: 7:27 min.
Theater of Possibility was highlighted in the October 2017 issue of Seattle's Child in Valuing Difference, about innovative programs for kids on the autism spectrum.
Now registering for Spring 2019 Classes in Seattle and Bellevue!
After school classes at Seattle's University Heights Center:
Teens/Adults (ages 15 and older): Tuesdays, 4:15–5:45 PM, Jan 8–April 2. Last class goes 4–8 PM for potluck & family showcase. Cost: $450 (12 class days).
Partial scholarships and pay-what-you-can available. TOP is a DSHS respite care provider.
Saturday classes for kids,
teens and adults at Bellevue
Kids/Tweens (ages 8-14): Saturdays, 9:10–10:20 AM, March 2–June 8 (skipping dates listed above). Last class goes 9–Noon for potluck & family showcase. (13 class days)
Teen/Adults (ages 15 and older): Saturdays, 10:30–Noon, March 2–June 8 + Sunday June 9 (skipping dates listed above). Note: Class on June 8 will go 12:30–2 to accommodate younger kids performance. On Sunday, June 9, we will meet 12:30–4:30 for potluck & family showcase. (14 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.
Washington State Arts Alliance Cultural
Kenessa Sarka, Xanne Sarka, Lauren Marshall & Jackie Moffitt
TOP perfoms at Intersection Festival!
TOP's advanced troupe of teen and young adult performers is made up of highly talented individuals with autism and peer allies.
Intersections is a comedy festival focusing on equity, inclusion and representation.
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.
Here is what some parents have said about TOP:
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:
Also check out these blogs by Susan Moffitt, TOP parent:
Theater of Possibility - community partnerships:
Thank you to the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Youth Arts Awards, 2012–14 and 2015–17, Arc of Snohomish County and Windermere Foundation (via Seattle Musical Theatre) for their support of TOP.
Original Material and Coding Copyright © 2010–19 by Lauren Goldman Marshall. All Rights Reserved.