Theater of Possibility - Rehearsal for Living
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.
New and upcoming:
The Theater of Possibility ("TOP") youth troupe performed two short pieces, Autism Therapy for Neurotypicals, by Jackie Moffitt, and Kaleidoscope, by Lauren Marshall and Pam Shane Johnson, at the Intersections Festival, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way, SW Seattle, 98106, Sunday March 25, 2018.
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.
See below for Winter-Spring 2018 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 Winter-Spring 2018 programs in Seattle and Bellevue:
After school classes at Seattle's University Heights Center:
2018 Seattle are 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, Feb 27 –May 22 (skipping April 10). Last class goes 4–8 PM for potluck & family showcase. Cost: $450 (12 class days).
Teen/Adults (ages 14 and older): Thursdays, 4:15–5:45 PM, Jan 11–March 29 + public performance Sunday March 25 (skipping April 12). Last session on March 29 goes 4–8 PM for potluck & family showcase. This is an advanced class for students who have been in TOP before of have other comparable experience. Please contact Lauren if interested
Contact Lauren Marshall for more information and to register for any of these programs. 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 8-13): Saturdays, 9:10–10:20 AM, Feb 3–May 19 (skipping 2/17 & 4/14). Last class goes 9–Noon for potluck & family showcase. (14 class days)
Teen/Adults (ages 14 and older): Saturdays, 10:30–Noon, Feb 3–Maay 19 + Sunday May 20 (skipping 2/17 & 4/14). Note: Class on May 19 will go 12:30–2 to accommodate younger kids performance. Last class on Sunday, May 20 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.
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:
Valuing Difference, by Sydney Parker, Seattle's Child, October 2017.
The Rude Princess: Sand Point Housing youth reach for the TOP, by Liz Reed Hawk, in Solid Ground, Groundviews, March, 2016,
The Theater of Possibility, by Cheryl Murfin, in Seattle's Child, January 2013.
Theater of Possibility, by Margaret, Wallyhood., September, 2012.
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 & 2015-17, Arc of Snohomish County and Windermere Foundation (via Seattle Musical Theatre) for their support of TOP.
Original Material and Coding Copyright © 2010–18 by Lauren Goldman Marshall. All Rights Reserved.