Each year, the Expo stage is pleased to welcome the region’s largest and longest-running theatrical troupe of individuals with special needs, the Jesters. A program of the University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts, the Jesters provides an important creative and social venue for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Music, dance, theater, and puppets are incorporated into their inspiring productions featuring extraordinarily talented actors.
This year’s show, Heads or Tails, Hands and Hearts, will explore the idea of community. Performers will use music, dance, theatre, improvisation, visual art, animation and green screen technology to ask the questions: In what kind of community do we want to live? How do we create it? What are its values? How do we protect it? The story is told through the voice of everyday characters who feel threatened by Godzilla and other monsters created by Jester participants. All these characters are challenged to reconcile the relationship between intellect and force (heads and tails) and realize the beauty and power in hands and hearts. The show includes studies and references to the work of visual artists Robert Indiana, Keith Haring and Jean-Luc Bozzoli.
About the Jesters
Founded in 1979, the University of Saint Francis Jesters provides multi-disciplinary performing arts opportunities to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), ages 8-senior citizens. The Jesters program features a summer exploration, a core academic year program with an original culminating performance and guest artist residencies. In 2017, the Jesters presented artists from Second City Theatre Chicago who taught workshops teaching improvisational skills to people with I/DD. During 2018, the Jesters has launched a new integrated improv group comprised of people with and without disabilities. This year’s lecture-demonstration will feature improv games presented by people with I/DD who are part of this new performing group