Contact: Dino Hayz (director) at


After a year-long COVID-19 hiatus, The Quad Cities Penguin Project proudly announces the return of our Penguins to the stage with our production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. Rehearsals will begin at The Center for Living Arts starting in September 2021 and culminate with six performances at the Brunner Theatre Center on the campus of Augustana College over the last two weekends of January 2022. Due to the continuing Covid crisis and our steadfast commitment to keep everyone in the QC Penguin Project community safe, we will be adopting the following protocols this year:

• The total number of participants will be limited to no more than 60 performers (30 artists and 30 peer mentors). 

• The age range for our participants this year will be from 12 to 22.

• All peer mentors and production staff members must be vaccinated for Covid 19 before they may participate in the rehearsal and performance process. Artists with special needs will be encouraged to vaccinate but will not be required to do so.

• Masks must be worn by everyone at all rehearsals regardless of vaccination status. The mask mandate may also apply to the January performances, depending on CDC and state guidelines at that time.

• While in past years we have not limited the number of family members attending rehearsals, this year we can allow only one parent or guardian per participant during the rehearsal process.

• We will keep a close watch on CDC and state guidelines, and we will be prepared to adjust these protocols as required.

Any 12 to 22-year-old individuals who are interested in applying to be a part of this year’s production (as artists or peer mentors) should attend one of two upcoming informational meetings.

The meetings will be conducted at the Brunner Theatre Center (3750 7th Avenue, Rock Island) on Wednesday, September 8 from 5:00-6:00 PM and Saturday, September 11 from !0:00 to 11:00 AM. Because of physical space protocols, we ask that you let us know which meeting you would like to attend by sending an email directly to with the subject line: RSVP PENGUINS.


In your message, please list the names of any artists or peer mentors who will be attending, as well as the name of the parent or guardian who will accompany them. Finally, we understand that these new protocols seem restrictive and might dissuade or even prohibit the participation of some Quad Cities Penguin Project families, which we deeply regret. But, we are determined to provide a quality experience for everyone in the safest possible way. We know that The Little Mermaid will be a fun and exciting production to softly relaunch the program, and we anxiously anticipate the day when the shadow of the Covid pandemic is completely lifted and the Penguin Project can fully return to our mission of creating amazing opportunities for differently abled artists to spotlight their talents without restrictions.

Stay safe, and never stop believing.

Jeff Coussens

Executive Director,

Quad Cities Penguin Project

Goals of Project

1) To provide an opportunity for children with special needs to develop creative skills related to the theater arts

2) To provide an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in a community theater experience

3) To facilitate interaction between children with special needs and their age-level peers through joint participation in a community theater experience

4) To facilitate an appreciation of the challenges faced by children with special needs and their families

5) To identify the impact of a community theater experience on the communication skills, socialization, and self confidence/self esteem of children with special needs

6) To facilitate interaction among medical, developmental, educational, and theater professionals through participation in a common community project

7) To provide a forum for support and interaction for families of children with special needs.

Registration is closed for both ARTISTS and MENTORS