While differences might be a reason for division, one lowcountry theater company is determined to use differences as a reason for unity and creativity.

Bluffton Youth Theatre was founded by Cynthia Ford in 2015 with one profound mission.

“All inclusive theater which includes kids no matter their mental or physical challenge,” Ford said. 

The year round theater is currently in its summer camp session preparing for Shrek the Musical, Junior.

The cast consists of 50 kids, all under the age of 17, including, Ford says, twenty percent of students who have special needs.

Special needs and differences include autism, diagnoses anxiety, dyslexia, and other challenges.

No challenge or struggle is too big for Ford and her heart for others. For decades she has been passionate about inclusion for the disabled in the world of theater.

“This is just opening up a new world for him. He’s learning new things,” one mom said of her special needs son.

“It makes me feel nervous but it also makes me feel like I have a fire inside my belly,” special needs cast member Ronan Varley said. “I feel confident.”

The company is looking to expand to a permanent location. To donate click here.

Shrek the Musical, Junior will run August 9 -11 at the Hilton Head Preparatory Main Street Theatre. 

For times and tickets, click here.