Hickman and Gunter

Cassie Hickman, left, will be musical director and Lynn Gunter, right, will be director for the South Arkansas Arts Center's Penguin Project production of “Seussical KIDS.”

The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado has named the production staff for its upcoming Penguin Project production of “Seussical KIDS.”

Sponsored by Simmons First Foundation, the production will run October 4 and 5.

Lynn Gunter, who has directed many shows on the SAAC stage, will serve as director for this special project, along with Cassie Hickman, who has worked with SAAC as well, as music director.

"I love working with children,” Gunter said. “They are capable of great quality theatre when they are encouraged, instructed, pushed, stretched, and held accountable. Through that process, seeing a child rise up to the potential they know they have and seeing the pride they hold in their eyes from such hard work motivates me to work hard for them. It is my strong desire to give young people opportunities to perform in safe surroundings, both in content and influence. Penguin Project fits right in with that goal."

Gunter is a resident of Huttig, where her husband is pastor of Huttig First Baptist Church. She is also the K4-12th grade music teacher for West Side Christian School.

Hickman had two years’ experience in theatre in high school and some in college, as well, and also led the musical part of worship services for Cross Life Church for 5 years.

She has a 15-year-old daughter who is interested in drama, and that is what brought Hickman back to the theatre. “I love to see the kids ‘get’ the music, and be able to give it back to the audience so they ‘get it’, too.”

“Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?” said Hickman. “Add in some great music, some special needs artists and mentors … who wouldn’t want to be involved?”

This fall, SAAC is teaming up again with the Penguin Project to put on “Seussical, KIDS.” It seeks special needs artists between the ages of 8-18 who would love their chance to shine as well as mentors who would love to bring out the best in others.

The Penguin Project is a unique opportunity for children with special needs to perform in a live stage production in front of an audience. Through targeted outreach, special needs children are recruited as artists and cast in the production, from starring roles to ensemble. Each special-needs artist is paired with a mentor of similar age, who guides them through the production from start to finish, helping them learn lines, dances, songs, and blocking. The children operate as a pair throughout the entire process and appear on stage together, resulting in a full theatrical performance, with costumes, sets, and music.

For more information about Penguin Project or the production, call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.

CLICK HERE for information at the SAAC website.

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