In the news

Conventionally, we would think it is the artists’ limits and the audience’s expectations that are challenged through the work. But this group not only challenges expectations of what students with Down Syndrome can or cannot do, it also breaks the audience’s limits regarding how we perceive Shakespeare’s 400-year old works. It calls into question who owns Shakespeare, who has the right to perform Shakespeare, and what makes Shakespeare appealing. I would suggest that the A.B.L.E. ensemble actors own Shakespeare on a personal level that I, having studied Shakespeare for over 30 years, cannot match.
— Tim Duggan for City Desk, Shakespeare 400
When she is with YOU, she tries harder, she is determined, she is interested, she is the best and brightest she ever was. To see that little girl who was so fearless of life, once again, light up a stage, is a treasure beyond words.
— Kathy, program parent
I would have never thought Kathleen would get up on stage in front of a crowd and actually speak (and have fun doing it!). Clear speech has been a struggle for her. You nurture skills in our children that are difficult to express.
— Mark, program parent
Oh my God it was UNBELIEVABLY moving. This group of DS teenagers acting out a 500 year old masterpiece, using a piece of playground equipment for Juliet’s balcony for their set. There were moments of hysterical laughter like when dead Juliet lifted her head to give a thumbs up to her family, to tears, like when Rachel eschewed the help of her volunteer prompter to deliver the famous line “oh Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou oh Romeo.” And the young attractive volunteers, crouching down beside the actors murmuring their lines to them and reminding them to topple over dead or blow Romeo a kiss...It definitely goes down in the blessed, surrounded by angels, God smiling, whatever other cliché-to-indicate “living by the Word” Hall of Fame!
— Susan, audience member
I was so impressed by the amount of language the students were able to deliver and how well the show flowed from beginning to end. Throughout the show, I couldn’t stop thinking about the students, volunteers, and families equally, and how each group has SO MUCH to gain from being a part of your program.
— Jason Harrington, Education Outreach Manager, Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Flowers cannot say and words cannot convey the happiness I feel when I see my girl express herself via the Drama Group....My Alena was broken in spirit and in heart with low self esteem and NO Friends. I watched her transform into Beyonce on stage. It was the best.
— Naomi, program parent