Message from Founding Director, Joanne Margolius
A magical journey of exploration, discovery and connection.
Hello, I am Joanne Margolius, Director and Lead performer of the Magical Experiences Arts Company. In 1985, whilst I was attending Art College in my hometown of London, I decided to volunteer for a Drama Therapy organization, Action Space London Events. I had no prior experience of disability, in fact I was mostly consumed by the ‘beautiful people’ of the fashion world, who were to be my clients when I graduated. What I did not expect that within hours of my introduction to these severely disabled children, I would be changing my life’s path. Six months later in February 1986, a new non-profit, a new art form, a new therapeutic method was introduced to the world.
Magical Experiences-a creator of a safe, nurturing interactive theater experience, where the disabled and non-disabled participants become connected through emotional exploration and tactile discovery.
Our mission is simple, to offer the most ground-breaking, innovative Arts programming to children, adolescents with severe multiple disabilities, or severe emotional disturbances, and adults in the last stages of memory impairment or dementia.
Therapeutically so much can be achieved. Anxiety, tension, frustration, anger can be soothed, calmed to the point of acceptance, peacefulness. Restricted muscles can be warmed and stretched. Suffering can be acknowledged and compassion offered. Achievements can be celebrated, shared.
Educationally, schools can embrace a new vision for bringing the world of science, literature, social studies and geography to their students. Landscape, cultures reveal themselves, each Play is a book opening its pages to our delight. Historical and fictional characters will hold up a mirror to our own lives-they will immerse us in stories that enrich our minds, our passion for living, no matter the daily struggles.
Creatively. Empowering a child, adolescent or adult, who, because of the severity of disability have been historically marginalized, even Theater neglected to offer them a ‘voice’, a ‘presence’ to inspire. The Magical Experiences cares only about ‘humanity’, no disability is too severe, no disease too chronic, no symptom too traumatic to prevent an individual from becoming a member of the theater community.
Welcome to the Magical Experiences Arts Company
MEAC is an Arts serving organization that provides innovative and creative theater programming to both day and residential schools and adult care centers. MEAC provides interactive performances which: empower, inspire and educate children, adolescents and adults with severe multiple disabilities in a safe, nurturing environment. The goal of which is to develop communication and self-expression skills. The performances provide individuals with disabilities an opportunity to fully participate and become engaged in theater at a high standard of excellence. Theater should be accessible to all Americans; MEAC has created a method that can make this goal a reality.
MEAC has a unique goal of introducing schools and nursing homes to its theater performances with the proposal to establish long term residencies. By offering these facilities either weekly or monthly theater interactions, MEAC is able to make a real impact for both the participants (students/ residents) and the staff working at these facilities. Using theater as a means of encouraging and developing communication and self-expression skills for individuals with severe disabilities has been embraced and implemented by all of our residencies. The students participating in the MEAC program have severe multiple disabilities and severe behavioral problems. To impact these behavioral problems and greatly reduce self-injury, aggressive behaviors these students must participate in an arts program that is especially created to meet their needs. MEAC allows all the multiple disabled students, especially the autistic students to retain the experiences and develop their emotional growth from week to week.
Creative Expression and Production
- The participants will use a variety of theatrical elements to communicate their feelings and ideas.
- The students/adults will reflect and develop the performer’s movements to explore characters and develop situations to dramatic problems. Emphasize is put on conflict resolution within the plays.
- The participants will be encouraged to ‘lead’ the performers and develop the stories through their own emotional responses and imagination.
- The participants will be able to touch and see a variety of textural costumes, cloth backdrops, props, and dramatic theater make-up.
- The students/adults will observe varies ways in which people can communicate without verbalization.
- The students will use a variety of loco-motor and non-loco-motor movements to express their responses to the play. Children in wheelchairs can be placed on floor mats and supported physically by aides.