Alumni

Kal Buscaino

Year: Second Year

Major/Intended Path of Study: Commerce or Statistics and Chinese

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Position: Theater Outreach Chair

Other involvements at UVA: Chi Psi Fraternity, Organization of Young Filipino Americans (OYFA), One Thousand Schools, International Buddy Program, IFC Diversity Committee

What does ATP mean to you and/or why are you excited to be a part of the team? 

I have a few people in my life who have sensory disabilities, and I want kids with sensory disabilities to have the same opportunities that I had as a kid. I see ATP as a way for me to accomplish this, but also a way to reach out to the local community!

What’s something new you’re looking forward to/something new you want to do? 

I’m really looking forward to designing these shows to be fitting for a sensory-disabled audience. I hope that we can mix creativity and fun when writing the scripts, setting up the props, and having a good time.

Kieran McMahon

Year: Second Year

Major/Intended Path of Study: Biology/Bioethics

Position: Communications Chair

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Other involvements at UVA: Sailing Association at UVA, Madison House 

What does ATP mean to you and/or why are you excited to be a part of the team? 

ATP’s cause is something I am really passionate about, and I am thrilled to be a part of the team! Theater is an important experience for everyone, and I am excited to assist in making it accessible to all!

What’s something new you’re looking forward to/something new you want to do? 

I am looking forward to working with people outside the University bubble and making a community impact.

Xara Davies

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University of Virginia Class of 2020

College of Arts & Sciences

Hometown:Birmingham, England

Major: English

Role in ATP: Community Outreach

What makes me passionate aboutAccessible Theatre Project?

I have several personal experiences with autism and wish something similar to ATP had been available for my family back in the UK. I think it’s an incredibly innovative program that provides support for both those on the spectrum and for their family and friends.

My favoriteAccessible Theatre Project Memory:

I remember sitting next to one family at the First Year Players production of “The Addams Family” and giving one little boy a stress ball. The enjoyment and look of relief on his face as he played with it throughout the production really illustrated to me every little difference ATP makes.

Other Involvement:

The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy, The Cavalier Daily

Golda Houndoh

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University of Virginia Class of 2019

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Leesburg, VA

Major: Global Development Studies (Pre-Med)

Role in ATP: Community Outreach & Theater Outreach

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

Theatre is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world and I feel so lucky to be able to share this love by being a part of a team that provides inclusivity for neurodiverse audiences! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the smiling faces of the families and friends who attend the shows!

My favorite Accessible Theatre Project Memory:

Meeting one of the audience members — she’s the coolest girl I’ve ever met!

Other Involvement:

Zeta Tau Alpha, Madison House, Young Women’s Ladership Program at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, Global Health Student Advisory Board, ULink Advisor, First Year Players

Anna Morgan

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University of Virginia Class of 2019

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Majors: Studio Art & Psychology

Role in ATP: Community Outreach

What makes me passionate about Autism Theatre Project?

I love theater and the arts and being able to share that with others. I’m a firm believer in the arts as a means for expression, healing, communication, and whatever else one may need them for. Anyone should have access to the arts and the joys they bring, and I love how ATP works to provide inclusive environments that encourage and allow more people to engage in theater.

Other Involvement:

First Year Players, Cavalier Daily Arts and Entertainment section writer, Arts Mentors volunteer, Sustained Dialogue, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Flux Poetry Club

Eleni Papageorge

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University of Virginia Class of 2019

Curry School of Education

Hometown: Ashburn, VA

Major: Speech Pathology & Psychology

Role in ATP: Assistant Administrator

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

Coming from a family with children on the Autism Spectrum, I believe that it is vitally important that all children get access to everything from plays to summer camp and everything in between!

My favorite Accessible Theatre Project Memory:

During our Fall 2016 show with 4 County Players: A Charlie Brown Christmas, I assisted with cast meet and greets.  I loved seeing the kids enjoy the show and meeting the cast afterwords.

Other Involvement:

Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, Deaf Education and Awareness for Students, National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association, Autism Allies, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship

Arijeet Sensharma

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University of Virginia Class of 2019

The Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Hometown: Falls Church, VA

Majors: Public Policy & Leadership and Music

Role in ATP: Assistant AdministratorWhat makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project:Theater has given me so much throughout my life, and not just the opportunity to perform; theater has given me strong communities, powerful emotional experiences, and most simply, joy. These are all experiences that everyone deserves to have, and I think that is is incredibly important to make theater accessible to everyone, particularly those who might normally face barriers to enjoying theater. It is also important to me that the UVA and Charlottesville communities as a whole are constantly working to be more inclusive, and ATP can greatly contribute to this mission.

Favorite Accessible Theatre Project memory: I am new to ATP and as such have not volunteered at any events yet, but I attended the sensory-friendly performance of FYP’s production of The Addams Family, and it was really heart-warming to see the faces of the children in the audience light up as they watched the show and met the actors after it was over!Other UVA Involvements:First Year Players, University Singers, Chamber Singers, University Democrats, Spectrum Theater

Ryleigh Tatum

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University of Virginia Class of 2019

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Newport News, VA

Major: Psychology (Pre-Med)

Role in ATP: Theater Outreach

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

Theatre has been a huge part of my life since I was in 4th grade!

My favorite Accessible Theatre Project Memory:Volunteering for Spectrum Theatre’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was one of the highlights of my semester. Seeing how excited the kids were to be coming to the show was beautiful to see, and talking to their parents opened my eyes to the lack of opportunities that kids with sensory disorders have to participate in community events and how special ATP is.Other Involvement:

First Year Players, Intervarsity

Elin Woolf

University of Virginia Class of 2019

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College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Centreville, VA

Majors: Psychology & Economics

Role in ATP: Community Outreach

What makes me passionate aboutAccessible Theatre Project?

I love this opportunity to bridge the gap between neurotypical individuals and people with disabilities. It makes me happy that people with sensory-related differences will be able to comfortably enjoy the wonders that theatre has to offer.

Other Involvement:

PSP, Visas, Madison House, PAFN

Oliva Cosby

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University of Virginia Class of 2018

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Majors: Drama & Psychology

Role in ATP: Theater Outreach Chair

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

My dream is to own a non-profit dedicated to accessible theatre. ATP is my first step in that process. I love working with every single kid that we interact with and seeing all of their faces light up when the show starts. I think the arts have a very powerful influence on the world and introducing more of the world to theatre can really make a difference in others lives.

My favorite Accessible Theatre Project Memory:

The opening of Captain Louie Jr. when it was all made real. Months of work had finally come together to create a truly magical moment.

Other Involvement:

First Year Players, UVA Drama Department, CollegeWorks Painting Intern

Annie Frazier

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University of Virginia Class of 2018

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Reston, VA

Major: English

Role in ATP: Community Outreach Chair

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

I love theatre and it has always been a major part of my life.  The feeling you get when on stage or in the audience for a live performance can is truly indescribable and can be matched by nothing.  I joined ATP so that I could help people who haven’t had the opportunity to experience the magic of theatre finally get to see what so many of us love so much!

My favorite Autism Theatre Project Memory:

My favorite ATP memory was Ana and Wesley simultaneously commanding “Diction” during Captain Louie Jr.  Hilarious and further demonstration of ATP’s expectation and desire for excellence.

Other Involvement:

Jaclyn Lund

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University of Virginia Class of 2018

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Majors: Psychology & Classics

Role in ATP: Executive Administrator

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

I have a close family member who was diagnosed by Aspergers when we were growing up, and watching him struggle to fit into a neurotypical world broke my heart. I’m incredibly happy to say that years later he is doing incredibly well and has found an outlet through wrestling. I think that something like theater, which has been responsible for so many amazing moments in my life, can provide one of the best outlets and experiences for all kids.

My favorite Accessible Theatre Project Memory:

I got to welcome people to the Peabody School for Captain Louie, Jr. and watching everyone pull up to the school so excited and get out of their cars ready to see an amazing performance was magical.

Other Involvements:

First Year Players Theatre Group – Assistant Director, Autism Speaks U at UVA – Vice President, Classics Club – President, Virginia Senior Classical League – Secretary/Treasurer

Natalie Noble

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University of Virginia Class of 2018

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Majors: Cognitive Science & Spanish

Role in ATP: Community Outreach

What makes me passionate about Accessible Theatre Project?

After college, I plan on attending graduate school to receive a master’s. I want to be a Behavior Analyst and work with children with autism. I love the idea of creating a space where unique and special kids can be themselves in the best environment possible!

Other Involvement:

Research Assistant in the Early Social Development Lab, Member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority

Madi Lahey

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University of Virginia Class of 2017

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Major: History

Role in ATP: Theater Outreach

What makes me passionate about Autism Theatre Project?Theater has been a great blessing and opportunity in my life, and I feel very strongly that anyone and everyone who desires it should feel at home in theater.

My favorite Autism Theatre Project Memory:

My favorite memory from ATP was standing on the balcony during the Captain Louie performance and waving enthusiastically at audience members who would occasionally look up and wave to me!

Other Involvement:

Housing and Residence Life at UVA, Hoos in the Stairwell (Broadway A Capella), Shakespeare on the Lawn, UVA Drama Department, Spectrum Theater, First Year Players

Ashley Houze

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University of Virginia Class of 2016

College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Major: Sociology

Role in ATP: Research Assistant (started Fall 2015)

What makes me passionate about Autism Theatre Project?

Theatre has been such an impactful experience on my life, and I love being a part of it! I want everyone to experience the magic of live theatre: from hearing the overture play and having the excitement build, to seeing the beautiful set, to the rush of emotions that come with the final bows. Working towards making the arts more inclusive is something that I am so excited about being a part of alongside some of my dearest friends. This experience has really opened my eyes to the possibility of continuing this in the future, maybe even for dance performances, too!

My favorite Autism Theatre Project Memory:

All of the hard work and build-up led to a wildly successful sensory-friendly performance of Captain Louie Jr., our first ATP show! After our sensory-friendly performance, one of the young actresses in the show said that she enjoyed that particular performance more than all of the others. She said that could really feel the energy, excitement, and happiness from the audience. It felt great to see both the audience and the performers benefitting from this experience and to hear that they had a lot of fun along the way!

Other Involvement:

Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, First Year Players, Spectrum Theatre, UVa Class of 2016 Trustees, Wilkins School of Dance

Ana Mendelson

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University of Virginia Class of 2016

Curry School of Education/College of Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Fairfax, VA

Majors: Speech Pathology & Psychology

Role in ATP: Founder, Lead Researcher

What makes me passionate about Autism Theatre Project?

After learning about autism-friendly performances going on across the country, like on Broadway through the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative, I was inspired bring sensory-friendly theatre to Charlottesville. I am passionate about the arts as well as inclusion, and this was the first project I’ve embarked on that I felt fully encompassed both these passions. The project at its simplest form is an invitation — an invitation to families who may have felt stigmatized in public spaces to come out and participate in community arts events. I am excited to see how ATP grows and changes in response to the community’s needs.

My favorite Autism Theatre Project Memory:

Hiring my amazing support staff! Initially, I thought I could do it all on my own, but after receiving some well-timed advice, I decided to put together a team. It was the best decision I’ve made throughout this precess! Seeing the ATP crew work passionately to realize an idea that once existed solely in my head has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

Other Involvement:

Challah for Hunger, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, University/Chamber Singers, First Year Players