Known for providing classes, workshops and other developmental opportunities for young people on the autism spectrum, Akron-based Center for Applied Drama & Autism (CADA) will host playwright and autism activist Joshua Dushack for a reading of his play “Behind the Mask” at its downtown Akron location later this month.
Laura Valendza, co-founder and Artistic Director of CADA, says “Theatre has a profound impact on those who have dealt with bullying, which is really all of us. It allows us to hold a mirror up to society and directly asks the audience to take a look at what’s happening in our world.” She adds “Since Shakespeare, theatre has given us the story of universal struggle. Bullying is a struggle which has affected most people. Putting this story on a stage brings us closer together as a community and connects characters on an emotional level within a safe environment and will hopefully motivate the audience with an urgent call to action for change.”
Dushack was diagnosed with autism at the age of 8 after several years of speech delay and random obsessions. Despite the doctors’ prognosis that he would never be independent, he received a Bachelor’s degree at Seton Hill University, performed musicals at Stage Right Performing Arts, in Greensburg, PA and began activism by spreading awareness about bullying and autism. His debut play, “Behind the Mask” uses High School aged characters to describe the roots of bullying from both the side of the victim and the side of the bully.
The play reading will take place at CADA Studios, 333 S. Main Street, in the Basement 200 Suite on Saturday May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. All ages and people of all abilities are welcome. For more information on the Center for Applied Drama and Autism and Mr. Dushack’s reading, visit www.centerforada.org, call 330-595-4565, or e-mail Angie Laakso at [email protected].