“There are groups out there, like DramaWay, that teach drama and theatre practice to people with Down syndrome, and they do a great job,” says Thompson, one of the country’s best-known playwrights.” – Judith Thompson, Award Winning Canadian Playwright
“This is a great program! The positive energy and enthusiasm of Danielle and her staff bring out the best in all the students. I would highly recommend it to anyone, no matter what their ability.”
“My son Chris has been a part of the Dramaway family for seven years and enjoys it immensely. As a result of his participation in the program he has fostered wonderful lasting relationships, his confidence level has soared and he has fun! Dramaway has proved to be invaluable not only to Chris but to me as well, it is a safe friendly enviornment that promotes independence and
well being. The dedication of Danielle and the entire staff is amazing, they work diligently with all the participants to ensure that they are comfortable and exceeding their individual expectations. DramaWay is an excellent program that we would sorrily miss if it wasn’t available to us. Congratulations on a wonderful program and to a great New Year.”
—Debbie & Chris Geen
“Excellent choice of programming material for our clients! And adapted nicely, where necessary. Very enthusiastic and motivating—our clients really enjoyed themselves!”
—Erin Wilkie (Certified Therapeutic Recration Specialist) – Bloorview Kids Rehab
“Danielle clearly understands how to work with the children and youth with special needs. On the day that we went to DramaWorks there was also a drama camp there and Danielle seamlessly integrated the two camps while still respecting each individual’s special needs and support needs. Danielle was excellent at ignoring any negative behaviors and keeping the group and eventually the individual, engaged and involved. Thank you Danielle for a great experience!”
—Freda Goh (Occupational therapist)—Bloorview Kids Rehab
“The Dramaway method incorporates inner comprehension and expression of life’s issues through the dramatic process. The staff are respectfull of this process and encourage all participants to develop at their own pace. The staff use proper stage etiquette and terminology when instructing and there is a high, but supported and manageable, expectation for each participant. The productions; though lovely for the family members to watch; are not the main goal of Dramaway. Danielle Strnad focuses on the development of the person as her main goal. She delights in the growth of the individual and the transfer of Dramaway skills into everyday life. Danielle Strnad has coached her staff to follow her respectful lead and they are a motivated, positive and organized group.
I don’t really know how to put into words all that Dramaway has offered Niocle for these past 10 years. Danielle has been a main part of Nicole’s development and I don’t like to consider Nicole’s life without the influence of Danielle and her staff at Dramaway.”
“My son Gavin Burns has been taking part in DramaWay since Danielle started the first of her now many growing programs almost 10 years ago. From the beginning I was awestruck at her dynamism, creativity, talent, rigour, sense of humour and most of all her innate respect and knowledge of special needs people and her commitment to them. Any one who has watched one of the end products of her programs, the play, can attest to this as well as to her ability as a dramaturge. She leads her participants to the production of a very professional performance.
The end product, however, is not the main thrust of her programs. Doing fun-filled activities she and her staff guide the DramaWay participants towards living their lives to the fullest, whatever their capabilities and whatever their large or small problems of the moment. Her interest in and ability to help and love the individual while keeping her eye on the whole is absolutely amazing.
As DramaWay has grown, so has the staff. Danielle has attracted people to join with her who share not only many of the attributes described above but most importantly her commitment to the growth of special needs people through drama.
I highly recommend DramaWay programs.”
“Our son has participated in the leadership program for many years and always found it to be a wonderful experience. The program provides a forum that develops self advocacy, mentoring, and social skills, all in a creative, challenging and supportive environment. The staff are creative and energetic as they adapt the program to the participant’s strengths and goals. Our son would never dream of missing a session.”
—Carla and Ross MacHattie, Parents of LeadershipWorks participant
“One distinct reason that the program was a success at Queen of Heaven was a direct result of Danielle’s ongoing and animated personality. From staff to students, everyone was captivated by her program… and ability to modify the workshop to meet the needs of each student. The program is high recommended…”
—DramaWorks – Queen of Heaven School; Gerry Cullen, Teacher
Daphne Lowinsky, one of the group’s members who plays a magician named Chris in the production, says that she enjoys the group very much because it is a lot of fun. “We can act how we want dramatically and show our emotions. It’s a pretty fantastic place to go!”
—Karen Gilmore, The Annex Gleaner, 2001
“…(my son) had not been feeling well. He was tired and was showing signs of discomfort such as facial grimacing. But as soon as he went to drama, that stopped completely. He walked with a sprightly gait down the hall to drama, and he was never too tired to go.”
—The Oakville Beaver
“Danielle has been providing drama classes to the children at Studio 123 Early Learning Centre since May 2000. Her classes have been a wonderful addition to our program. Danielle creates exciting classes combining traditional and contemporary stories with active drama. She is extremely positive and animated with the children and she captivates their imagination.”
—Anne-Marie Williams, Supervisor, Studio 123 Early Learning Centre
“Drama Camp a source of inspiration!…An Etobicoke resident learned much more than how to dance like a popstar thanks to his participation in DramaWay’s multi-arts camp last week.”
– Susan O’Neill, Scarborough Mirror, 2003
“I think Mrs. Strnad is nice because she let us use her masks and we got to play the raft game and it was so much fun.”
—Javon, Age 7, School Drama Workshop
“Thank you for running your TeenWorks program. I didn’t know if I was going to like it because I am so shy. But Danielle was so patient and supportive. After completing the class, I felt a lot better about myself. I became confident and I was able to be more comfortable speaking in front of large groups. You’re the best!”
—Samantha Retac, Age 14, Teen Works Participant
“Self-esteem and the class’ individual interpersonal skills were noticeably improved. The students look forward each week to the class.”
—D.M. Hooper, Teacher at Maplewood High School
“The students really enjoyed the role-playing activities and the sounding out exercises are excellent to help with speech difficulties.”
—Evan Jones, Teacher at Maplewood High School
“Drama with Danielle was always the highlight of my week and I feel the participants here at Addus would agree. Danielle brought a wonderful energy to the program that was at once uplifting yet personal. Her openness and energy fostered such a creative and trusting environment that people felt secure in taking risks”
—Tavis Stoby, Outcomes Facilitator, Addus
“Danielle instantly related to students and staff motivating us to join in and participate. She readily identified student’s needs and built her program around their weakness and strengths. She delivers programs to develop their skill sets while building self-confidence. We witnessed personal growth in all our students as they had a chance to shine during the drama exercises.”
—DramaWorks Program– Debra Jackson, D.D. Teacher, Queen Elizabeth Senior Public School, April 1, 2006
“Our first DramaWay experience has been extremely successful. The students… looked forward to our weekly workshops with Julianna Armstrong. Her high energy and expertise worked to involve even our shyest students. The students developed confidence and learned about the expression and recognition of emotions.”
—RhythmWorks– Irene Vidakovich, Teacher, David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, December 1, 2005
“All of us are excited about drama. We felt great after the first lesson.”
—Life Skills – Student, Falgarwood Public School, May 15, 2006
The students benefited greatly from having had this program. They were able to enhance their creative skills and build both self-confidence and self-esteem. The program provided for these children was truly outstanding.”
—DramaWorks– Mr. S.G. Abernot, Special Education Teacher, Elmcrest Public School, April 3, 2006
“Thank you very much for making ….Avery’s party so easy. We were very happy with how her party turned out. Donna was wonderful. Other parents who were at the party are very interested in having DramaWay to their parties too.
—PartyWorks – Michelle & Michael Reader, 2005
“We were excited to invite DramaWay to our students Graduation Ceremony…came prepared with an excellent PartyWorks Workshop offering two sessions (of) 16 children in each group and a drama program for each group that lasted 1 hour each. (The Instructor) ran an entertaining graduation celebration…the children were drawn to her energetic approach and had plenty of fun watching her as she led them through an animated journey.”
—PartyWorks – Doris Ebeer, Director, Humber Crest Nursery School, November 17, 2005
“Andreas really loves everything about DramaWay…the chance to be creative in acting and the warm and kind compassionate treatment he receives from you and all your staff. Thank you all very much for what you do and how you do it. The performance of the “Wizard of Oz” was absolutely delightful.
—DramaWorks – Hedi Fuhs, Caregiver, July 18, 2004
“Thank you very much for the entertainment arrangement today. (Your staff) did a splendid job and all the girls managed to have a lovely time at Jamie’s Party. I really appreciate all the communication initiatives you took to make this birthday of my daughter a delightfully memorable one.”
—Specialty Workshop– Carrie Jok, July 17, 2004
“Bravo and congratulations to you and your entire team for staging another amazing show yesterday. The Weird and Wacky Wizard of Oz was another winner! Your creativity and special insights with your actors bring out the best… thank you for providing such a fantastic performance for all.”
—DramaWorks– Helene Paulyn, June 23, 2004
“Thanks – the party was awesome!!!!! YOU DID A GREAT JOB! Everyone was blown away…”
—Laura Del Zotto, Private, PartyWorks Session, February 27, 2004
“DramaWay has been involved with Children’s Garden through Arts Express for the past four years…providing a creative and dynamic drama program that is suitable for young children….their enjoyment of the drama program is of the utmost importance. Even through drama is only at Children’s Garden once a week, (it) is a very important part of our Children’s Garden family.”
—WigglyWorks – Pauline Foulkes, Director, Children’s Garden, February 21, 2003
“We would like to thank you for the excellent session you presented at Chrysalis…we found the workshop to be very interactive, the way you intertwined storytelling, drama, Song and Movement into one was very impressive. The children enjoyed it very much….we would recommend your service to all who are seeking a dedicated and carrying individual to provide workshops or programs in Drama, Creativity, Play, Movement etc.”
—PlayWorks – Lynn Boone, Coordinator, Chrysalis Home Learning Resource Centre, March 5, 2003
“It has been our pleasure to have DramaWays’ WigglyWorks & PlayWorks program at our school. (The staff) have led our students (ages 2- 7) on a wonderful exploration of their creativity, wonder and play through an inventive and entertaining program of storytelling and dramatic movement. DramaWay has become an essential part of our curriculum at Martingrove Montessori School.”
—WigglyWorks/PlayWorks – Brenda Barnes, Directress, Martingrove Montessori School, March 19, 2001
“Everyone should see this…”
That’s what I was saying, as I always say, after Thursday’s ExpressionWorks presentation. What you folks do is so glorious and full of love and respect that it would surely soften the heart of even the grumpiest of souls. I had to wonder, and of course this is something you must think all the time too – where are the city council members? the mayor? the media? the potential corporate sponsors who would presumably love to be associated with something so unremittingly good? I am, sadly, lacking in financial, political or social clout, but if my words can be of use, I’m at your service.
That was a fabulous slide show, Alanna, and it was so sweet to see the signs of Devon’s growing participation. Incorporating the sound machine was a stroke of brilliance – if Devon’s special Ed teachers had been 1/10th as smart as you folks his school years would have been much more productive. You wouldn’t have seen or heard this, but as the staff members were being thanked and applauded, Devon pressed the applause button on his machine over and over and over again.
I don’t quite know how you manage to capture the essence of each member of such a diverse and often challenging group, but the whole team does it so well that you make it look easy. I’m not known for being overly sentimental, but it seems to me you act from a place of such basic love and respect that nothing but good things can result. You are an oasis of caring in a world that can all too often seem anything but.
I admit I teared up a great deal on the impromptu performance of the tin man’s song from The Wizard of Oz – the focus of the performer, the way he transcended his outward limitations of awkward movement and speech to communicate the emotional core of that song, was deeply moving. I suspect I wasn’t the only one surreptitiously wiping away a tear.
Kudos and thanks to you all for another wonderful program. Long may you run.
– Laurie Pearce
I would like to nominate your DramaWay Facilitator Alysha Hunsberger for an award for her outstanding work. She facilitated highly engaging and enriching activities through the Multi-Arts Summer Camp partnership with Kerry’s Place Autism Services. Not only has she never been absent , but Alysha has consistently implemented highly enriching activities and appeals to all learning styles. Her approach is participant-centred and always finds ways to engage everyone regardless of their challenges or communication styles. I think her work in facilitating the camp program is outstanding and would be glad if she can be recognized in some way.
– Todd Simkmover, Autism Consultant with Kerry’s Place Autism Services