“Our Secret Garden” Marks New Collaboration

The premiere of “Our Secret Garden” featuring actors from UNO Theatre and the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Transitions Program was held Nov. 18 at the Weber Fine Arts Theatre.

The event was the first collaboration between UNO Theatre, WhyArts, the Autism Society and the UNO Transitions Program. Earlier this fall, WhyArts artist Stephanie Anderson advised UNO director Lucas Perez-Leahy on developing a performance for Transitions Program participants inspired by “The Secret Garden,” which kicked off UNO Theatre’s 2018-19 fall season. The Transitions Program provides opportunities for young adults ages 18 to 25 who identify on the autism spectrum to practice and enhance social competencies.

“UNO’s School of the Arts is squarely focused on strengthening our sense of community by developing the powers of perception and empathy,” said Jack Zerbe, director of the School of the Arts at UNO. “Collaborating with WhyArts, the Autism Society and UNO Transitions is a shining example of how UNO’s arts programs bring people together to foster understanding and make connections. I am pleased to have provided increased access to the arts but even more delighted that our students got to work so closely with our special new partners and friends.”

“Our Secret Garden” was immediately followed by the final performance of UNO Theatre’s “A Secret Garden.” Below, Jack Zerbe and Carolyn Anderson, director of WhyArts, address the audience before the premiere.