The Actors Gymnasium
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Michelle Higgins
Marketing Manager
Circus School Announces Special Needs Pilot Program
An AG instructor supporting a student with special needs during a private lesson

EVANSTON, IL - The Actors Gymnasium is proud to announce a pilot program serving children and adults with disabilities. Initially, the program will offer two classes tailored for: students with Autism aged 10-14 and students with Down Syndrome aged 16 years and older. Additional classes will be added based on community interest.

Circus Arts offers a non-competitive, creative recreational opportunity that allows individuals to shine. Taught by certified instructors, classes will provide instruction in a variety of circus disciplines, including aerial arts, tumbling, and dance in a safe and supportive environment. Students will enjoy individualized attention and be coached according to their ability, helping them to develop confidence in a community of their peers.

Parents within AG's community saw the growth in confidence that students experienced in private lessons and one off workshops and knew the potential AG's open environment could bring to students with special needs. When they approached Executive Director Virginia Nugent with the idea, she saw it as a perfect opportunity to help another community "Learn to Fly" physically, emotionally, and creatively. The ability to launch a new pilot program is largely due to support from the Noyes Tenants Association and The City of Evanston to get an additional teaching space in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. This new space opened up a number of new possibilities for the non-profit. 

Open Houses will be held on September 11 at 6:00 pm for students with Down Syndrome and September 14 at 7:30 pm for students with Autism to introduce parents and students to the space. Interested parties are asked to email their interest to



The Actors Gymnasium is located at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL - just off of the Noyes purple line 'L' stop. The Noyes Cultural Arts Center is owned by the City of Evanston and home to over 20 artists and arts organizations offering music, theater, and visual arts programs and studios. The galleries exhibit local artists, with exhibitions changing every two months.

Actors Gymnasium classes are taught in a 3,000 sq/ft gymnasium space that features a 1,600 sq/ft sprung floor and a fully rigged 24 foot ceiling. All aerial equipment such as the Aerial Hoop, Spanish Web, aerial silks, static trapeze and more are provided, as well as the equipment for ground skills such as unicycling, juggling, tight wire and gymnastics. Starting Fall Session 2015 additionally classes will be taught in Studio 108, a 900 sq/ft classroom space that features a floating sprung White Oak dance floor, a fully rigged 14 foot ceiling, a handstand wall, conditioning ladders, and room length 12 foot mirrors for aerial work.

About The Actors Gymnasium:

The Actors Gymnasium is dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the American Theatre. Encouraging ground-breaking theatrical exploration, The Actors Gymnasium teaches circus arts, physical theatre and multi-disciplinary performance to children and adults; produces original, daring works of circus-theatre; and serves as a talent resource, providing performance opportunities to our students and innovative professional event entertainment for a wider audience. At The Actors Gymnasium, people Learn To Fly - physically, emotionally, and creatively. For more information, please visit