Exceptional Theater Company, Inc., a 501©(3) non-profit organization known as “ETC,” is recognized as an innovative theater arts program for people with disabilities. Its classes and productions focus on techniques in improvisation, movement and music, giving ETC actors opportunities to enhance verbal skills, improve movement, express ideas and feelings, build self-confidence, think freely, and socialize.
ETC volunteers, known as “shadows,” assist the actors both on and off the stage. Shadow roles are often filled by high school students, who find the work fun and rewarding. Actors, teachers and shadows work together to choose themes and write scripts for their performances. Beginning in Hollywood, Florida in 1991 at The Quest Drama Club with twelve students led by special education teacher Nanette Mikes, the club was expanded by Debbie Lombard, who served as executive director of ETC until 2018. Board Chairman & CEO Ruben Levy has been involved since the beginning, and with his many years of business acumen, helped ETC become a corporation and then formalize its 501©(3) status. Daniela Roeder, an award-winning drama participant and passionate special needs advocate, was hired by ETC in 2016 to help grow the organization, coordinate its annual events, and contribute to the enhancement of its drama programs. Daniela was promoted to Executive Director in 2019 and leads the organization under the Board’s direction.
ETC now serves over 150 students, conducting weekly theater classes in 8 locations across Broward and putting on numerous productions and social events throughout the year. It is the organization’s goal to expand its reach in order to enrich the lives of as many special needs actors and families as possible.