My childhood was dominated by Barbie. She decided much of my schedule; dinner time was pushed back and back until my mother broke the doll’s spell by shutting her away in the DreamHouse and banning me from the playroom. I got over my tears by the entree. I recognize a similar affinity in my nephew’s… Read More

Ryan Duda
February 7, 2017

There are moments in an artist’s life, or anyone’s life for that matter, where we question the direction our life is going.  We take into account every decision we’ve made, every opportunity we’ve taken advantage of or turned down, and the many paths ahead of us that we could possibly travel down.  We may ask… Read More

As a lead instructor for 4th Wall you can’t help but worry the day of the show. Over the past however many weeks, our students are memorizing lines, practicing songs, and rehearsing dances, all in order to impress our guests on the big day. All you really want is a show that your students feel… Read More

The terms “developmental disabilities” and “challenges” are often synonymous with each other. In fact, challenges are part of life whether experienced typically or with developmental disabilities. However true this may be, here at 4th Wall we understand that the challenges of people with developmental disabilities can often bring up questions of the “accessibility” of certain… Read More

Katie Mann
October 24, 2014

By: Gabby Gauruder Do you believe in coincidences? As I entered my junior year at MSU this fall, my world had been shaken. I always thought I understood what it would be like for a person to go through a serious illness but it wasn’t until now that I truly realize how hard it is… Read More

Paul Pyrkosz
December 10, 2013

Imagine walking into a new class on the first day and the room being flooded with sunlight and then magnified by a wall of mirrors. Not every student appreciated all of that light. Some covered their eyes it was so bright. When I met this group a couple months ago, we were a mix of… Read More

Annie Klark
November 20, 2013

Since I was a young child, I’ve always known that there was magic in the theatre. The process of starting a production with nothing and ending up with a stage full of lights, costumes, music, movement, and sound effects is just the beginning. The true “theatre magic” lies in the transformation of actor into character,… Read More

Are you ready for an adorable overload?  Then read on, my friend. An integral pillar of 4th Wall is how the students have a hand in writing the play they perform for family and friends.  Depending on the students’ enthusiasm, or interest, their options include characters and oftentimes motivation.  This week a group of 4th… Read More

Katie Mann
October 9, 2013

Theatre People Theatre people are weird.  I say this as a theatre person — and with great admiration. People who enjoy being on stage are usually self-aware, loud, and oftentimes rambunctious.  If you’ve never met a “theatre person” before it can take some getting used to.  They are often super-busy, juggling multiple jobs and often… Read More

Katie Mann
September 18, 2013

4th Wall Kids-Speak Do you remember Art Linkletter coining the phrase, followed by Bill Cosby putting his spin on:  Kids say the darndest things?  And how true it is!  A few of my favorite Kids Speak-isms: I overheard a six-year-old boy practicing his flirtation skills with a six-year-old girl, using this catchy opening line, “Did… Read More

Katie Mann
September 11, 2013

There is something magical about Show Day. Paid or recreational actors, students who are typical or have developmental disabilities, there is something different in the air. Excitement. Pride.  Anticipation. Students are usually a combination of nervous and excited. Parents are usually twice as nervous as their children. And us directors? Well, even with our experience we have… Read More

Katie Mann
July 31, 2013

Now that 4th Wall has been servicing the community for more than a year, we’re getting many repeat clients. It is a wonderful thing! At one of our often visited places, the Down Syndrome Guild, we’ve done five 6-week sessions with them. That is enough to see amazing growth. Welcoming the students (some returning, some new)… Read More

Katie Mann
July 24, 2013

Sometimes as a teacher, there are “one of those days” when you feel no headway is occurring. But then there are such distinctive moments of helping “just one person” that brings you back to the heart of teaching. Today was one of the latter. In class there was an adorable little boy with cognitive impairments… Read More

Over a year ago now, I was chatting with a mother about the traumas often following a “developmental disabilities” diagnosis. In her case, she was informed during an ultrasound that her son would have Down syndrome. Adjusting to the news she sought counsel from a neighbor who happened to have a teenage daughter with the… Read More