By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s hard being a teenager with a disability, especially if your dream is being in theater. Now, one woman who lived that is providing free acting and singing lessons for dozens of disabled young people.
Music director Maria Ceferatti is guiding dozens of singers through a rehearsal. Some of the singers use wheelchairs. Some use walkers. They all have a voice– thanks to Christine Rouse, the founder and executive director of Acting Without Boundaries, or AWB.
“I wish I had AWB as a kid,” Rouse said. Her cerebral palsy made it difficult to pursue acting when she was a child. So in 2004, Christine and her army of volunteers started a theater troop for people with disabilities.
Maria Ceferatti, the music director for the show, said, “She doesn’t see boundaries. It’s that simple.”
Actress Lauren Gretz, a 26-year-old from Fairmount, has cerebral palsy. She said, “When you’re on stage within this group, the disability kind of disappears on stage.”
“It’s really wonderful and unique,” said Kate Yeager, a 25-year-old actress from Downingtown.
Aaron Deede, a 30-year-old actor from North Wilmington, Delaware, suffered a spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury 12 years ago. “I love it that I’m still able to act,” he said. “This is great!”
We caught up with them as they rehearsed for a show at the Arden Theater in Philadelphia, their first at a Center City professional theater.
“It’s been such a great experience,” said Hannah Brannau, another actress. “I don’t know, I don’t think I know what I would have done without it.”
Maria Ceferatti said, “These kids just love to sing. The kids really teach me as much as I teach them.”
Acting Without Boundaries has another show coming up at the Haverford School Sunday, October 7, at 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. To attend, contact Marni Murphy at her email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at (610) 922-8240.
For more on Acting Without Boundaries, visit: http://actingwithoutboundaries.org