EPIC/SMILE gives everyone the chance to love theatre

For clients of SMILE of St. Malo Inc, being a part of EPIC SMILE’s play is an opportunity to socialize, be creative, and share their love of theatre with an audience. This year, EPIC SMILE performed their holiday musical The Elves Save Santa’s Parade at MTYP to a packed crowd of one elementary school, two daycare groups and MTYP staff.

EPIC SMILE is a non-profit group that gives people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to be included in activities like theatre productions, sports, and woodworking workshops.

The group performed three shows this year. For some of the actors that was the most shows they had ever done. Performing so many shows made some of them nervous, but it didn’t stop them from getting in front of an audience.

Each member of EPIC SMILE helped write The Elves Save Santa’s Parade. They were led by Adam Kirk, an MTYP instructor. Adam, as Santa, played guitar while the group sang along to Christmas favourites.

Caleb said the play was a collaborative effort. The actors came up with the script by talking to one another about what scenes they wanted to act out and characters they wanted to play.

“We each talked about what we wanted to do and put all of our ideas together to come up with the play,” he said.

There was a mix of traditional Christmas characters like elves, Santa, and the three wise men, and not so Christmas-y characters like Mario, Taylor Swift, and Sonic. The actors built off one another’s ideas and came up with a story about a family who wins a draw at a parade, an evil ice queen that freezes Santa, and a “battle of bands” type performance.

Being a part of EPIC SMILE is both challenging and rewarding for its participants.

Tim said the hardest part of being in a play is memorizing all the lines, but it’s worth it to be able to spend time with everyone else in the play.

For Trevor, the sense of community and the ability to be creative is what he loves the most about being a part of EPIC SMILE’s theatre group.

“We get to come together every year, make groups and come up with different ideas,” he said. Although he also likes to watch plays, he definitely likes being in plays a lot more. “It’s really fun to act, and fun to pretend to be a different person.”