Disability Issues

Tellin' Tales Theatre: Storytelling with a special purpose

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Fifteen years ago, Tellin' Tales Theatre, a storytelling mentoring program, was created by an actress with a disability. The goal is to bring together children, with and without disabilities, and mentors to develop stories with unified themes.

"Six Stories Up in The Windy City" is this year's topic. They are taking audience members on a whimsical historic tour of Chicago.

Mentor Matthew Kopp and his apprentice Aaron Holzmueller have created a scene about Chicago's future as it relates to the Paralympics.

"Aaron is very excited about the Paralympics," said Kopp. "He's an Olympic athlete, and he's gotten me very excited about all of the games, including describing how the games are adaptive, and Aaron is really fun to work with."

This is Kopp's 12th year work with Tellin' Tales Theatre.

"Every year this play challenges me. The themes of the pay are often of universal themes," said Kopp.

Tekki Lomnicki is the artistic director and also an actress.

"It's important to me to mix actors with and without disabilities because they learn from each other," said Lomnicki. "They make a really neat connection. It's great where when a person with a disability can show their mentor without a disability new ways of doing things."

Preparations start in July.

"It's usually just two hours a week," said Lomnicki, "and I like them to work for four weeks and then they write the scene together and then my friend Matthew and I put together all the scenes to make it one play, and then we have a composer come in and compose original music."

This is 12-year-old Holzmueller's second year.

"Last year it was basically a soccer team in Greektown, and I was on the soccer team...we had to choose a Greek god and I choose Poseidon," said Holzmueller. "This year it's a history, and I'm in the future of Chicago, so it's the Paralympics."

"I want people to walk away with a renewed love for our city and a real knowledge of our history and what made us as Chicagoans keep going," said Lomnicki.

"Six Stories Up in the Windy City" opens Saturday at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport in Chicago. They will perform this weekend and next week.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children and students.

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