Unified Theater has been unable to meet in person because schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers decided ‘the show must go on,’ and have been rehearsing virtually for a performance that will be streamed on YouTube beginning Friday, May 29.
Unified Theater is a program that illuminates the power of inclusion to students with and without disabilities through an annual show.
Started at Conard High School in West Hartford 18 years ago, the Unified Theater program is the largest school sponsored extracurricular run by student leaders. Students come together to “put the spotlight on ability” through a production consisting of small-group skits, dances, and a sign language song that correspond to a theme.
Previous themes have been the Olympics or TV shows. The production ends with the “We are Unified” song and dance, where alumni are invited to sing and dance on stage.
Due to the current circumstances, we were unable to hold typical Unified Theater rehearsals this year.
The friendships and memories created through this program are like no other, so it was imperative to find a way to ensure we were still able to put on a production in some form. The production team quickly came up with a solution: virtual rehearsals.
The theme is represented through the idea that we’re all in this together; even though we cannot be together in person, we are still connected and always supporting each other. Students were put into small groups where student leaders taught sign language to “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical as well as reviewing the “We are Unified” dance.
Advisors recorded each group going through both the sign language and “We are Unified” dance. These were put together to form a video as our final show, including statements from senior members as well as clips of alumni participating in the final dance.
Even though we cannot be together this year, Unified Theater continues to foster important connections that last a lifetime.
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