Penguin Project News

Welcome to the Penguin Project News! Here you can find exciting updates about Penguin Project progress, events and meetings!

Important Announcements for 2018:

Our program is expanding and we need to expand with it! We’re looking for committed volunteers to assist us with new staffing needs. If you’re interested in becoming a valued member of the Penguin Project of CWCT’s staff, please contact Melissa Lindemann at for more information.


“The most significant change we have seen in Landon since starting the Penguin Project has been his verbal communication. My son, Landon, has never felt comfortable speaking at school, and has basically been non-verbal from Pre-K – 3rd grade. Through therapy and coaching his teachers and I got him to speak in a very low whisper, but we just could not get his “full” voice, even with me at school with him. Landon would talk everywhere else except school, and would tell us that it was hard for him to speak at school. No one ever pushed him. We had hoped in his own time that he would get more comfortable communicating at school.

Landon first did the Penguin Project in the summer of 2015 and at each rehearsal I saw him open up just a little bit more. He would ask when he was going to practice and was excited for each rehearsal. Seeing Landon on stage that first year was so heartwarming and to see the true joy on his face and his excitement was priceless. I asked if he was nervous and he said not a bit. He was in a place that he could just be himself, no questions asked. In the fall of 2015 Landon started 4th grade and he was a completely different kid from the previous years. He walked into open house and talked with his teachers and responded to kids that said hi, not in a whisper but in his full voice. This continued throughout the school year. There were teachers that had never heard his voice before outside of a whisper. The only change we had made over the summer was his involvement in the Penguin Project. No additional therapy or medications of any kind.

Landon was so excited when the Penguin Project came back for year two. During the first couple days of rehearsal several of the volunteers come up to me regarding Landon, and they commented on how his eye contact with them had improved so much from the previous year. He was just a little more outgoing and back in a place that he knew he could be him. I think having that safe place allowed him to find himself and know it was OK to be Landon anywhere even school. It has been so great to see him more open at school with the other kids and teachers and finally feeling he can be himself there too. He is raising his hand in class and wanting to answer questions. He even asked to be on Safety Patrol and in band. During the beginning of the school year of 5th grade, Landon did a speech in front of his whole class about his play and even sang a song. Prior to the Penguin Project this would have never happened and he probably would still be at a whisper voice. This project has so many success stories and has had a huge positive impact on Landon.”

~ Tina S., Artist’s Mother

“My son is a mentor for this project. He did his first musical this past spring, “Lion King Jr” (he was Young Simba). He also plays sports, but this summer chose the Penguin Project over playing football through EYFL because of his new-found love for music and theater. I’ve watched him interact with his artist, and the transformation and maturity I’ve seen in him is amazing. He has learned leadership skills and now has a better understanding and respect for people with disabilities. The bond they all have with one another is heartwarming and an experience I’m grateful all these children are able to have.”

~ Sara B., Mentor’s Mother

“I just wanted to say thank you. After two years struggling to get into plays and ultimately failing because of my inability to dance professionally you guys were mentioned to me. It’s magical, your program, how it changes people and brings us all together into something like a family. You don’t judge me, you’re not hard on me, and you care. I’ve been singing with Julie Burgess for years but this is the first time I have truly been able to perform not just sing alone on a stage but become the character of someone else’s story. I used to just think “oh I can’t dance” because that’s what everyone always told me I had no reason to question them until now. Now I think “why not?” Disability does not define you what does is your actions and you can’t just let people tell you what you can and cannot do. So thank you Penguin Project for opening up my eyes and for giving me something to look forward to.”

~ Lizzy B., Artist

Our Mission: Central Wisconsin Children's Theatre (CWCT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to producing live theatre, performance and educational opportunities for the benefit of children, youth, families and communities. CWCT provides a positive environment for social, educational, physical and emotional development through the art of quality theatre.