Seeking young artists and mentors for life-changing program

Apex Theatre announces inaugural Penguin Project production of Aladdin Jr.

St. Augustine, FL — The Apex Theatre Studio Inc. announces its inaugural production of the North Florida chapter of The Penguin Project. Performances of Aladdin Jr. will take place July 23-24 in Lewis Auditorium on the campus of Flagler College.

Every year, groups of young artists across the country take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical. These productions are unique, however, because all of the roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders. 

They are joined on stage by a dedicated group of “peer mentors,” children the same age without disabilities who have volunteered to work side-by-side with them through four months of rehearsals and through the final performance. By providing access to community theater, The Penguin Project demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability should not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.

“We were lucky enough to witness this powerful experience at one of our partnering organizations — the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Brunswick, Georgia,” said Ian Mairs, managing director for Apex Theatre Studio. 

“The effect the Penguin Project has on young artists, their families, and mentors is life-changing.”

The project is holding informational sessions for interested young artists with developmental disabilities and their families on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m to noon; and Tuesday, March 29 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Apex Theatre Studio, located at 425 West Town Place, unit 112, St. Augustine, Florida, 32092. 

The project is also seeking peer mentors to work on the spring/summer project. The first company meeting is Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m., with a mandatory mentor training on Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Registration for all informational sessions can be found at this link:

Rehearsals will begin on Tuesday, April 5 and continue through performance dates. The average commitment is four hours per week for artists and mentors. There will be no rehearsals the week of major holidays (Memorial Day and July 4th) and the week of June 20. There is no cost to participants or mentors. For more information or questions, please reach out by email at or call 904-834-1351.


Since 2013, Apex Theatre Studio has produced over 40 productions in the Northeast Florida area. In June 2015, an ongoing partnership with the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall allowed us to present a series of plays and musicals to audiences in the Ponte Vedra/Nocatee area to great success and robust attendance. Visit and follow on social media at and on Instagram @apextheatrejax

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