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The Books and Plays Club Experiences Shakespeare

Learning is a lifelong process. Unfortunately, after completing their secondary education, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities too often find themselves in services that no longer challenge them intellectually and socially. At Search, Inc., we believe we have a responsibility to offer creative programming options that stimulate learning and growth in these areas.

With this in mind, Search, Inc. partnered with Harper College to present the Books and Plays Club, a literature and live performance experience for individuals interested in reading and the theater.

For twelve weeks, from January through March, eight Search consumers got a taste of a liberal arts college education. As students in the Book and Plays Club, a collaborative effort between Search, Inc. and Harper College, they read William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  Classroom assignments encouraged students to explore the style and format of a play's script and how it translates to the stage and screen. The instructor from Harper College enhanced the literature experience by showing clips from movie adaptations of the play and having the students to take on the roles and act out the scenes.

The course culminated with the students attending an Oakton Community College production of Romeo and Juliet, at its Des Plaines campus. Prior to the performance, the director of the play gave a private presentation on how he transformed the Oakton theater stage into his vision of Verona, Italy. This backstage look and the first and second row seats for the live performance were well-deserved rewards for all of the hard work that the group put into the class.

All of the students would like to thank Oakton Community College for their VIP treatment and Harper College for coordinating the evening. They also have nothing but gratitude for their teacher, Ms. Teri, and can't wait for another chance to dive into the literature and live theater world.

Community partnerships like the Book and Plays Club provide the people we serve with important opportunities to meet peers, share common interests and learn from a postsecondary educator, in a community setting that is both supportive and intellectually stimulating. 

Search, Inc. would also like to thank Linda Hoeck, Harper College Career Skills Institute Coordinator and Scott Cashman, Manager of the Harper College Continuing Education Personal and Cultural Enrichment Department. Their dedication and enthusiasm have been essential to bringing this new, innovative program to life. 

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