What is InterActing
InterActing is a non-profit theater for young people with autism aged 12 to 22. Through improvisational theatre, we encourage our participants to let go of their routines and rituals in order to face the ever-changing world with self-confidence.
Improvisation is a form of theater where no script is used. Yet it is based on a number of strategies that are very applicable for increasing the social flexibility of young people with autism. From being able to quickly build on each other’s ideas, to responding to the other person’s acted emotions, at InterActing they get to practice life in all its facets.
Saskia Maas, director of InterActing, noticed that her autistic son Aidan has an amazing brain, but couldn’t handle everyday surprises well. Together with educator and owner of Child Center, Pim Donkersloot, she founded theater school InterActing in 2018, where young people with autism learn to improvise, make friendships and build their self-confidence. Participants learn that the unexpected is not at all exciting, allowing them to better handle unplanned situations.
Saskia Maas: “Sometimes they don’t dare say their name in the first lesson and at the end of the course they effortlessly tell something about themselves.” Then I think, “Wow, what progress.”
When you hit puberty, you want to belong to the group. Then it’s extra difficult when your challenge lies in connecting with another person because of your autism. That’s why with InterActing we focus precisely on these vulnerable young people. After all, everyone wants to build friendships and a life that is also filled with having fun. Through our approach, we increase their flexibility, personal development and social participation.
InterActing has several activities in which young people can participate. We organize trial classes for new participants, a spring and fall 14-week course, and a 4-day summer school program.
We use all kinds of varied exercises from improvisational theater that provide interaction between the participants. They learn to listen to each other, build on each other’s ideas and create skits together on stage. The basic principle of Yes And is central to improvisational theater. This means that what your fellow performer says is always true and it is your job to add something to it so that the idea grows further.
Respect, understanding and fun come out very well in this form of theater and they really learn to play together. Their so-called limitation plays no role at all on stage and that works tremendously liberating. In the summer school we add other creative forms that appeal enormously to this target group, so that they can experience that there is also much more in the world for them to learn than what they do in everyday life.
Our Statutory Objectives
Conceiving, developing and executing theater and improvisation programs, providing communication challenges for
- teenagers and young adults with autism and/or other disabilities
- their parents and schools and training institutions for this group of young people
We do this through the following activities
- Offering improv courses, a summer school program and taster classes to individual participants and schools.
- Raise awareness about autism and the opportunities our approach provides to increase the social participation of this specific group.