Theatre eXceptional is a professional theater and education company that actively recruits artists with disabilities. Through a variety of theatre classes (Theatre 101, Musical Theatre, Improv, Drumming, Voice and Diction, Shakespeare Studies, Advanced Musical Theatre, Advanced Acting) they offer professional education in the many aspects of theater. They produced two-four shows a year. There is a musical each September which casts area professional actors with actors with disabilities. The cast size is usually about 45 actors. Additionally, there are professional sets, a live orchestra of 5-8 members, professional costumes, props, choreographer, director, etc. Theatre eXceptional also does straight plays which speak in some way to disability awareness and also blends casts of professional actors and actors with disabilities. These include Children of a Lesser God, Our Town, The Boys Next Door as well as musicals Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver and Bye Bye Birdie. What sets this organization apart is the quality of classes, taught by professional teaching artists, and the high quality professional level productions. The audience often comments that they come to see the shows because it is always good theater — Theatre eXceptional has watched their actors with disabilities grow and develop their skills from week to week. Some have been able to go on and work in traditional theater settings because of the development and progress they have made through classes and professional productions. Theatre eXceptional actors who have performed with the Spanish Lyric Opera, 8 O’Clock Commuinty Theater, Tampa Bay Fringe Festival, SaraSolo Festival and The St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. Theatre eXeptional recognizes that there are actors, with various disabilities (cognitive, physical, blindness, deafness, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, etc…) who are talented and passionate about theater. The organization’s approach — high quality education, training and professional level opportunity — allows them to develop the skills they need to be successful not only in our organization, but, if they choose, in other theater companies. David Warner formerly with Creative Loafing, now the Editor of Dupont Registry said of Theatre eXceptional: “The point is, the story has more than meets the eye, as does this exceptional cast, a blend of professional actors with actors who have different disabilities. The point — other than a good time at the theater — is how Theatre eXceptional showcases talent, not disabilities.” This is who this organization is and what they continue to do. Perspectives are changed; lives are changed — on stage and in our audience. We have no full/part time employees. Paid contractors vary from project to project. Theatre eXceptional teaching artists are paid a small stipend each semester and our teaching actors are paid per show that they do. All others involved — board of directors, administrators, event organizers and participants, etc., are volunteers.