The Shakespeare and Autism project centers on the work of Kelly Hunter, the originator of The Hunter Heartbeat Method, a theatre-based pedagogy that uses the rhythmic language of Shakespeare to break through the communicative blocks of autism.
In November, The Tempest was performed for invited guests, including alumna Patricia Heaton-Hunt and her husband David Hunt. Heaton-Hunt is best known for her roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle. In addition to seeing the performance, she shared her experience with students during a Q and A session. She and her husband also announced the Patricia Heaton-Hunt and David Hunt Shakespeare and Autism Fund to support “the research, workshop, performance and related program activities of the Shakespeare and Autism Project in the Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University.”
Thanks to support from this fund and The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences, the original cast was invited to perform for the children of The Help Group in Los Angeles, CA on May 13 and 14. “Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States serving children, adolescents and young adults with special needs related to autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, abuse and emotional challenges.” (www.thehelpgroup.org). The production for The Help Group brought together the original cast for the first time since its summer 2014 performances.