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In 2003, two hundred people with disabilities and their advocates marched from Philadelphia to Wilmington, through central Delaware, west to Baltimore and finally to the U.S. Capitol – to demand their rights as citizens, to be full members of their communities, and to end the practice of shutting people away in facilities. During the 2-week journey, they blocked traffic for 144 miles and camped along the way. That historical march was choreographed into a theatrical production.
It began with the march. A collective group that works within the disability community thought the story of the march would make a great play. Pat Maichle, former Director of the Delaware Disabilities Council did research on the march and listened to stories from people with disabilities who lived through difficult times. Wendy Strauss, the Director of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC), became the Producer of the play, sought sponsors, and brought on George Tilson, a playwright from Washington, D.C. to write the play. George had professional connections who volunteered their time and “Boundless” became a reality.
Boundless A Musical Journey, took the audience on the trek, combining the recollected stories of Delawareans with disabilities and the sometimes-difficult history of our Nation’s struggle to ensure dignity and justice for all. Theater allowed people to ponder and celebrate the intricacies of our shared humanity through campfire stories of hardship, resilience, and celebration.
The cast of thirty was composed of people from the Delaware disability community and supporters ages 6 to 70. Everyone should know that people with disabilities can and should be supported by all of us and be part of the intricate fabric of our communities. Many people without disabilities are discovering that every one of us faces challenges in life – and that we each have moments of brilliance. One of the lines in the show read, “If you’re fortunate to live a long life, you WILL experience disability…up close and personal!” We’re all in the same boat – and we need each other. We are interdependent!
Art Therapy Express painted the backdrops for the performance of Boundless a Musical Journey. A group of artists joined together to create a colorful foundation for the final backgrounds for the play.
“We are grateful that Art Therapy Express created the beautiful backdrops,” said Wendy Strauss, Producer and Executive Director of the GACEC. “The disability community is embracing this theatrical production by working together to make it happen.”
Art Therapy Express Program, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe space for adults and children with multiple mild to severe disabilities to express themselves freely through the medium of art. With strong university and college internship support, they provide creative and social opportunities for students with and without disabilities to create understanding, awareness, and respect. Each Art Therapy Express class is designed exclusively to support all individuals with emotional, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities through the use of adaptive technologies and empowerment through creativity. For more information on Art Therapy Express, Inc. visit www.arttherapyexpressprogram.org
Sign language interpreters and CART services were available at each performance.
Boundless a Musical Journey was performed Friday, October 19 & 20, 2018 in the theater at Dover High School in Dover, Delaware. The incredible event was FREE.
Each of the performances received standing ovations as the audience cheered the amazing work of the cast and crew.