Air date: October 22, 2015
Katie Mann and Annie Klark are thespians with a passion for education. These two met while teaching at a local theater. It was there that several young actors with special needs underscored the lack of resources. Annie: We started looking around for something someplace that this existed that we could send them too and we really didn’t find very much so we kind of just decided to create it ourselves. 4th Wall Theater Company started with the motto “you provide the space and we’ll provide the fun learning opportunities.” Katie: Turns out people with special needs tend to like routine so our students flourished by us going to where they are already comfortable and so now we are in 64 locations in the lower peninsula. Katie and Annie have created a program that specifically targets special needs actors-to-be. The students write each play and 4th Wall works with them on singing, acting and dancing all of which dispel the belief that special needs kids are withdrawn and shy. Katie: Theater is the perfect vehicle to help them break through that because you go on stage, you look someone in the eye and you say something now go back and do it again. Annie: These are all things that they work on in their therapy sessions already but doing it we are kind of therapy in disguise. It really gives them the chance to learn those kinds of things while they are having fun and they’re having a good experience. Mitch: Well isn’t all theater therapy in disguise? Annie/Katie: Absolutely Mitch: And isn’t all therapy basically theater in disguise. Katie/Annie: Yes it is…laughing Sharing their love of theater with a deserving audience, Katie, Annie and the students of 4th Wall Theater Company are taking a bow right here in the heart of Detroit.