'Talking Art' With Dino Hayz And Jeff Coussens

Feb 26, 2018

Cast members of a theatrical production for the Penguin Project at the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island
Credit Courtesy of Dino Hayz

The Penguin Project Quad Cities is performing Beauty and the Beast, Jr. at the Brunner Theatre on the Augustana College campus February 23-25 and March 2-4. 

The Penguin Project is a national theatrical organization that performs adapted versions of well-known Broadway musicals and fills the on-stage roles with children and youth who have developmental disabilities. Each artist is paired with a volunteer peer mentor, age-matched to be with them throughout rehearsals and performances.

Cast members of a theatrical production for the Penguin Project at the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island
Credit Courtesy of Dino Hayz

Dino Hayz and Jeff Coussens
Credit Courtesy of Dino Hayz

Dino Hayz, Creative Director and owner of The Center for Living Arts in Rock Island, and Jeff Coussens, Professor of Theatre Arts and Department Chair at Augustana College, are collaborating for their second season, merging private and academic talent to create an inclusive and heartwarming production.

Listen to the conversation about how the Penguin Project was initially started, how Hayz and Coussens' partnership led to the creation of a replication site in our community, and how compassion and respect for others are the driving principles behind their work.

The Center for Living Arts, located at 2008 4th Avenue in Rock Island, puts on ten theatrical productions each year, with participants ranging in age from first grade through high school seniors.

Cast members of a theatrical production for the Penguin Project at the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island
Credit Courtesy of Dino Hayz

The remaining Penguin Project performances will be Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

Produced by Lacy Scarmana