Center Stage PossABILITIES

Center Stage PossABILITIES founder Leah Chapa poses with her son 16-year-old Julian Chapa before a show at University United Methodist Church.

A San Antonio-based nonprofit focused on helping special needs actors take center stage is coming to Seguin to share its work on the big screen.

Center Stage PossABILITIES has been looking to create young thespians for more than four years and has recently extended its reach to Seguin.

“Center Stage is a nonprofit group that my husband and I formed for people with disabilities to develop community and learn about their faith through theatre,” founder Leah Chapa said. “We are in San Antonio, but we have a connection in the area because one of our student’s mother lives in Seguin. She has a very strong community there so we are reaching out not only to San Antonio but also local communities and Seguin has been a strong supporter of our kids.”

Chapa’s inspiration for the nonprofit began as a way to bring more joy to her son’s life.

“Our son has Down syndrome, and when he was in middle school he didn’t have any friends,” Chapa said. “We were watching his behavior and depression escalate and become more and more, so we combined the things that he loves. Those things are one he loves having friends, two he loves theatre and three is he enjoys learning about his faith so we put it all together and now he has a whole community of friends while getting to do what he loves.”

Although the nonprofit only performs once a year, it has grown rapidly since its inception and consists of actors anywhere between 11 to 21 years old, all while performing for crowds numbering up to the hundreds, Chapa said.

“We only have one performance a year because our kids need a little extra time to learn the concept of the play, and then it takes some extra time to learn the plays,” Chapa said. “The issues that they are facing require a lot of time to practice, and we also have to weave in time for them to enjoy each other as friends and develop their community. It’s a lot of effort with wonderful results.”

The latest performance by Center Stage, titled “Lion of Judah,” premiered in June at the San Antonio Majestic Theatre. However, a recording of the play will be shown at 10 a.m. Saturday at the King Ranger Theater located at 1373 E. Walnut St.

“King Ranger is just so beautiful,” Chapa said. “They have allowed us to use their theater for a screening of “Lion of Judah.” It’s a 54-minute play, and we have seating for 120, and I’m hoping to fill all those seats, but I think we have somewhere around 80 seats taken right now.”

Tickets for the screening are free. However, the organization will be accepting $5 donations at the door.

“These plays are an opportunity for these kids to share their passion with people in a way that they might not get any other way,” Chapa said. “We love sharing our faith with people but sometimes the way we deliver our faith gets in the way of other people hearing it. If I say ‘hey, my sons going to be in a play about the Garden of Eden,’ people usually come, and they listen to it. So I think theater is an interesting way God teaches people about his love.”

For more information about Center Stage PossABILITIES or the upcoming screening visit www.cspabilities.com .

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at joe.martin@seguingazette.com .

The printed copy of this article listed the incorrect time "Lion of Juday" will be screened. It will be shown at 10 a.m. at King Ranger Theater.

 

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