Matt Lieberman ’16
In Unified Theater, the students run the show. Everyone is treated equally and “embraced for their unique abilities,” said Faculty Advisor Alison Poltrino.
“Katie [Corscadden ’14] started Unified Theater at the high school three years ago. It was the first Unified Theater group in Massachusetts,” said Poltrino. According to their mission statement, Unified Theatre is “national program that dissolves typical barriers between youth through transformative, school based performing arts programming. Young people with and without disabilities, of all backgrounds, come together as equals to put on a production.”
The upcoming Unified Theater performance will take place on Friday, May 10 at 1:30 and 4:30 in the WHS Auditorium. More than 13 students from the Middle School and the High School will be performing. The performance, aptly named “Raiders Take The Super Bowl,” is based off the events of the Super Bowl, including both football plays and funny commercials.
No matter their level of experience or talent, all of the group’s members are equally able to participate. “People of all abilities come together to write, direct, act, sing, and dance,” said Poltrino. Unified Theater shines the spotlight on ability, rather than disability. “Unified Theater is meant to be a place where everyone can come together and display their abilities not their disabilities,” said Olivia Rafter. “I think it is important that we have it because it allows tons of different people to come together to put on a performance.” To prepare for the performance, the students have been “writing skits, creating props, choreographing a dance, and learning some sign language. It’s going to be a great show,” said Poltrino.
During rehearsals, “everyone is treated equally and embraced for their unique abilities. It’s a wonderful example of inclusion,” said Poltrino. “In this group the students are in charge. I think it’s a wonderful organization that helps build students confidence, brings people together, and brings joy to all who attend.”
Unified Theater is very beneficial for all that are involved“I have absolutely loved being involved with Unified Theater. Seeing the way it brings students together, builds their confidence, enhances teamwork, and creates friendships that last beyond the final show,” said Poltrino. “It is a wonderful organization that helps build students confidence, brings people together, and brings joy to all who attend. I have seen students come out of their shell and try new things that they never imagined doing before. It’s very exciting.”
Unified Theater is a wonderful opportunity for people with or without disabilities. Rafter said her “experience has been great! I was never a part of Unified Theater before this year but I loved the concept and wanted to get involved.” All are welcome at Unified Theater, regardless of their skills on stage. Anyone is welcome to stop by room 149 on Mondays and Wednesdays after school to check it out.”
To learn more, visit: http://unifiedtheater.org/#/spotlightonabilityvideo/