The Miracle Project – an innovative program that uses theater, music and movement to help individuals with autism and other disabilities build self-confidence, communication skills and friendships – is kicking off its fall schedule of courses in September. Space is limited, and early registration is strongly recommended.
Several classes will be held Tuesdays at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts (9390 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; www.thewallis.org) from Sept. 20-Dec. 13:
- Beginning Music, Movement and Creative Dramatics for all abilities ages 4-7, 3-3:45 p.m.
- Beginning Expressive and Performing Arts for ages 16 and up, 4:45-6 p.m.
- The Miracle Project LIVE! Performance Troup and Songwriting Class for intermediate and advanced students ages 12 and up, 5-6 p.m.
- WORK, an advanced-level class giving ages 12 and up the chance to rehearse and perform an original musical about young adults with disabilities finding their voices and living their dreams, 6:15-7:30 p.m. This class is fully inclusive and includes mentoring by TV, film and Broadway actors.
At The Help Group’s Culver City campus (4160 Grand View Blvd.), there will be musical theater classes for ages 7-22 from 4-5:15 p.m. Mondays Sept. 12-March 29, and acting for film classes for ages 7-22 from 4-5:15 p.m. Thursdays Sept. 8-Oct. 27.
The Help Group’s Sherman Oaks campus (13130 Burbank Blvd.) will host beginning, intermediate and advanced musical theater classes for ages 7-22 from 4-5:15 p.m. Thursdays Sept. 8-March 5.
An Improv for Interaction young-adult social-skills program for ages 16 and up will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays Oct. 5-Nov. 3 at Friends Meeting of Santa Monica (1440 Harvard St.), and the group is also planning classes featuring Jewish humor where young adults with and without disabilities can create an original musical. Location and dates are forthcoming.
The Miracle Project techniques – focusing on exploration of music, movement and drama – are designed to help students of all abilities grow in several areas:
- Gross motor skills and planning through dance and movement
- Fine motor skills through art projects and instrumentation
- Speech and language through vocal training, speech and diction
- Memory through patterns, singing and acting
- Social skills through collaboration, scene work, and group exercises
- Mental agility through imagination, focus, and concentration skills
- Sensory integration and body awareness
- Group dynamics through taking turns and making transitions
- Self-expression through creative play
- Confidence building for performances
The program also offers a safe and appropriate emotional and physical outlet for the expression of feelings, the processing of one’s inner thoughts and the practice of daily life skills. This helps students engage more comfortably in their homes, schools and communities, and gives them a sense of personal accomplishment. Every Miracle Project member is a valued part of the production.