Robin Bennett
January 21, 2016

screen-shot-2013-09-23-at-12-04-21-pmWith the start of 2016, 4th Wall is proud to bring its total number of community partners up to an exciting 80! The Winter/Spring Season, which began this month, sees us again partnering with organizations throughout Michigan to provide children and young adults with developmental disabilities unique access to participation in theatre. Some of this season’s partnering organizations are longtime friends of 4th Wall, while a few are new to our program that we are excited to grow with!

Whether well-worn gold or shiny and new relationships, we want our readers to meet our partners and learn of some awesome opportunities (in addition to those with 4th Wall!) that they offer for people with special needs; below we will introduce you to 3 different organizations that 4th Wall has been proud to be a part of since the early days of this theatre company’s vision to forge a road to the stage for ALL abilities.

Down Syndrome Guild — Southeast Michigan

The DSG provides services such as parent/family support, social/recreational opportunities and other programs directed at every life stage:

“The DSGSEMI serves southeast Michigan, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Livingston, Lapeer and Genesee counties. Our constituency is composed of over 250 individuals with Down syndrome of all ages, 900 family members and over 200 local professionals.”

To find out more about the current 4th Wall Theatre classes with the DSG, click here.

DSG offers a variety of events for a variety of abilities throughout the year, below is a sampling of just a few of them. Please visit their website for a current list of events.

  • Step Up for Down’s Syndrome (SUDS) 2015 Walk (this is an annual event, so stay tuned for info about this year’s upcoming walk!)

Print“The DSG and FEDS proudly partner to announce the 2015 Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk. Each year 6,000 people in the    U.S. are diagnosed with Down syndrome. The DSG and FEDS serve these individuals across Southeast Michigan. Help us celebrate their lives at Woodside Bible Church in Troy on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Grab your family and friends for a fun-filled day for everyone. Strollers and wheelchairs welcome. Free parking. Service dogs only please. All participants are encouraged to fundraise.”

  • img_3148Super Saturdays:  Four Fun Activities for All Abilities.  GUTS Training Center, 1008 Orchard Street, Ferndale, MI
  • Club 21:  Monthly Social Opportunities for Young Adults.  All Events at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 1100 Lone Pine Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI.  Contact/RSVP: or 248-556-5431
  • Belightful Yoga:  Adapted Yoga.  1100 Lone Pine Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI.  Contact:

michigan_state_spartans2Michigan State University

“The partnership with 4th Wall has been an extraordinary opportunity for our MSU theatre majors and minors to see first hand how their skills and artistry can change lives. We feel honored to participate in the workshops each semester and look forward to future residencies!”
-Dionne O’Dell, MSU Associate Director of Arts and Cultural Management, Undergraduate Program

4th Wall Theatre Company applauds Michigan State University for providing these opportunities for their theatre students and the region’s youth with special needs to impact each other in such meaningful and life-altering ways. For more information on classes offered in 4th Wall’s current season click here.

There are increasingly more opportunities like this becoming part of a hands-on educational experience, like the Community Music School at MSU.

img_3149“Opportunities for music education and music therapy are available to people of all ages with special needs. Through music programming at CMS, individuals with special needs have found joy, new friendships, and have made progress in the acquisition of motor, verbal, communication and social skills through music.

Music lessons, music therapy and other CMS programs are available. If you have questions regarding a child’s or dependent’s ability to participate in a class not listed here, please call (517) 355-7661. CMS programs are inclusive.”

Canton Leisure Services

“The Summit on the Park has an amazing partnership with 4th Wall and together can provide a unique opportunity for the therapeutic recreation community. They work hard as a team on drama performances which are eagerly awaited by family and friends. Katie Mann [4th Wall Co-Founder] is a joy to work with and we hope to keep this partnership up for a long time.”
Christie Cunningham, CTRS, CLS Therapeutic Recreation Program Administrator

“Canton Leisure Services is committed to an inclusive approach to recreation, which allows for individuals with disabilities to participate in programs and activities as fully as possible, while providing reasonable accommodations.
Therapeutic Recreation (or “TR”) accommodations typically include individualized techniques and resources that enhance participation without fundamentally altering a program.”

img_0205CLS offers Therapeutic Recreation programs all year round to those age 15 and up (events for a younger population coming soon), as well as two summer camps for children/adults with special needs 8-15 and 15 and up. Below are just a few of the recreational programs offered throughout the school year, please visit for a full listing of the current schedule of events.

  • Fit Club:  Have fun while staying fit and getting social!  Summit on the Park, 46000 Summit Parkway, Canton, MI
  • Movie Club:  Meet for a monthly popular movie with your friends and TR staff!  Emagine theater of Canton or Canton Cinemas 7
  • Monthly Special Events:  Join your friends and TR staff at a different monthly event like a painting party, cider mill, or winter snowshoeing!  Locations vary with event.
  • Karate:  Learn this ancient martial art in a small class with several instructors specially designed for all abilities!  46000 Summit Parkway, Canton, MI

4th Wall has been blessed by our many amazing community partners all over Southeast Michigan, and we are not stopping there! Our theatre company is humbled by how quickly we have grown in just three years; nothing has made us more proud than to see the impact of theater on the faces of children and young adults with special needs in our communities! We salute our 80 partners, and we can’t wait for the next 80!