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Question for people who work or volunteer in local theaters.
Some of you reading this might already know Abby has been involved with her high school drama program for the last four years. She's attending an out of district school for at least one more year and a few months ago I was told she'd still be considered a student of the town and that she could continue with the drama program. After some back and fourth (I guess the new Town Hall people didn't want to continue to consider her a student ) they finally decided that yes, she can still take part in Drama but only for this current school year. If next September she's still a part of the OOD school, they want her to find "community activities" and won't let her take part. I just don't know if the not taking part means just as a student or if they'll deny her being an adult volunteer too.
Having said that, there is a theater in the next town over. I can get there in something like 10 minutes (Abby still is afraid of driving so no license yet). If Abby wanted to join this theater, how difficult is it to do that? Being a local theater, is it easier to "get in" to volunteer. Do they only want people actually living in that town so Abby would be told no right away? She's Autistic too. Would she not be wanted solely on that or would be treated like she's got the plague or if she's a slow child (which she's not). This isn't something I'm looking into for right now. I'm just thinking of options going forward and those who know me know I like to research and plan and get information. Out of 15 years in school, the Drama program is the only thing Abby has stuck with past a few months - and I'm talking doing nights and weekends too when it's on "her" time, not school time. If there's a way to maybe keep her involved in Drama, I'd like to find it and let her know. If she tries an actual theater and it isn't her cup of tea, that's fine. I just don't like school telling her she's not welcome anymore when Drama (at least at shcool) has been nothing but welcoming to everyone and their abilities.
My experience with the local children's theater group in my town wasn't good. I had many friend's who loved it and so did their children. When my DD tried out, I think the adult volunteer was just not very good and I would have hoped parts went to kids who did the best at tryouts but they seemed to go to her DD and her friends. Then she let other kids know that there were parts for those kids who weren't as good. These were 6 year olds!
I think you will have to ask the specific theater. And it depends on what Abby wants to do and what she has experience. If you are worry about her going in to a new situation, you could volunteer right along with her.
I would encourage her to try. If she likes it, it can be a life time activity. A colleague in my building, who is of retirement age, still does local theater. He acts but also does the program and sells ads.
I work at a "professional" theatre meaning we use union actors. Our volunteers mostly usher, park cars, and help in the costume shop. Is the theatre a community theatre or a professional theatre? A community theatre would allow her more opportunities. There she could act, help with sets, costumes, lights, and usher.
Our volunteers are retired people, stay at home Moms, and some younger people who are considering a career in theatre. Being autistic would not matter to us as long as the person is friendly and can follow directions.
I would try to find out who was in charge of volunteers at the theatre and have a frank discussion with that person about what you hope Abby could do for them. It might be a good way for her to learn more skills like sewing or carpentry. It may also widen her circle of friends and build her a new "adult" community.
Sometimes groups can be a little cliquey and it might take some time to fit in, so you may need to be patient. But, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't give it a try. Good luck!
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