Inclusive Theatre Club

Inclusive Theatre Club Inspires Students with Disabilities
Posted on 06/09/2021
IT GroupKailey Morand describes herself as an artist—she has been involved in musical theatre since the age of six and aspires to be a writer and performer.

In her sophomore year, Morand was chosen as Clear Springs High School’s representative for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar. The seminars are interactive programs that follow leadership development curriculum, which helps students to “discover leadership from a personal, group and socially responsible perspective.”

“I knew I couldn’t waste the invaluable knowledge and confidence I gained through that weekend; I wanted to help people, to use my newfound expertise to benefit somebody other than myself,” Morand explained.

On her way home from the seminar, Morand thought back to a conversation with her friend Bella, who happens to have autism. Bella mentioned how she would love to see more students with special needs in school theatre productions.

“The purpose of art, in my opinion, is to lift up and celebrate those who are somehow misrepresented or unheard,” she said.

With the help of her theatre teacher, Rozanne Curtis, Morand began the process of creating the Inclusive Theatre Group or the IT Group. The IT Group is open to all students, but the overall goal is to encourage students with disabilities to get involved in theatre.

Shortly after, Morand and her mom visited The River, an organization which provides arts education to people with special needs. In her visit, she spoke with the founder and took notes to help with her new project.

“The idea felt ambitious to me from the start, but after diving into the research required to start it, I realized that any hard work would prove more than worth it,” she added.

With the approval from her principal, the club was fully up and running for the 2019-2020 school year, however, COVID-19 put the students’ first production on hold.

The students met monthly for the entire school year and finally held their first performance in May 2021.

“I relished in seeing my peers with disabilities shine so much, seeing the improvement that came from simply showing them that they were capable,” said Morand. “So much unhappiness in the world derives from the fact that people are just not treated the way they should be, so we must do all we can to reverse the effects of exclusion, and to show people that they have just as much worth as the next person.”

Despite Kailey graduating this year, the club will continue through the underclassmen who have supported it from the beginning.

Kailey will attend Northwestern University in the Fall on a full ride scholarship.
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