New Stage Players, South Sioux City's first amateur theater program, announced the launch of The New Stage Players Penguin Project, a new program focusing on giving individuals with developmental disabilities and special needs an opportunity to participate in local theater.

The program was announced at a press conference Monday.

“We're so excited to bring this program to the area,” said Kristy Tremayne, president of New Stage Players. “We have a fabulous group put together for this project.”

Area children with special needs will get to hone their theater skills as they partner and network with others, while participating in a fully realized musical production- Annie, Jr., which will debut in June 2019.

Tremayne was encouraged to bring the Penguin Project to South Sioux City after attending one of their shows in Lincoln and being moved to tears.

“I've been in theater so long and I thought I'd seen it all,” she said. “But that touched my heart and I cried through the performance.”

The Penguin Project was created and developed by Dr. Andrew Morgan, a developmental pediatrician for neurodevelopmental disabilities. Since discovering the benefits that theatre brings to children with Down ’s syndrome, autism, Asperger’s, and other neurological, developmental and physical disorders, he has helped replicate the Penguin Project in local chapters across the United States.

New Stage Players Penguin Project is the 28th chapter in the nation and is the exclusive home for this program in Siouxland.

A meeting will be held in December for prospective participants.