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120 Morris St. Downtown Durham
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Liz McDonough is a Brooklyn native who fell in love with music and theater in high school. She trained at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts and graduated with Honors in Drama. Liz performed Off-Broadway and has sung professionally in both the US and Europe including the Victoria Jungfrau Hotel, The Village Gate and the California Jazz Conservatory. In the early 2000s, she changed course, became a drama therapist, and earned a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She found her calling doing drama, music and theater with neurodivergent students. Liz wrote and co-directed three all-school plays with autistic students ages 7-22, and directed countless performances over her 17 years of working with this population. Liz has taught graduate school at her alma mater and is a national speaker and consultant on autism. She has shared her drama-based approach with dozens of educators through neurodiversity trainings. Making learning joyful and accessible to autistic and ADHDer students through incorporating drama and music has been a core anchor of her mission.

Liz is also passionate about social-emotional learning and has created programs Dandelion Clubhouse and AND Action!, that provided her students with opportunities for creative expression and self-discovery. Liz believes that neurodivergent students learn best in action and that by harnessing their strengths through the arts, they can thrive in the classroom, on stage and in the greater community. Her students most recently performed at The Neurodiversity West Conference and The Neurodiversity Gold Podcast. Liz loves to perform jazz standards and is honing her skills in creative non-fiction. ARTS-CURRICULUM INTEGRATION: (THEATRE) (MUSIC) (STORYTELLING)

Residency Brain Science Theater: For Neurodivergent Leaners

GRADES: 3 – 8

Knowledge is Power! On this fun-filled inner journey, students will take a deep dive into the wonders of their own brains to think, connect, feel and deal. Using drama, music and movement as springboard, students will learn about the gifts of neurodiversity and explore the strengths and challenges within their own brains. Weaving social-emotional learning with science, the multimodal class is created with neurodivergent learners in mind but accessible to all neurotypes.

Max Participants: 25

Duration: 3 days minimum, 7 days maximum, 4 classes per day maximum

Special Requirements: 

  • Projector or Apple TV for slides 
  • Access to Outlets 
  • Room to Move for Experiential and Drama Activities

Single Session Fee: $187.50 per hour

Workshop Setting The Stage For Neurodivergent Students To Shine 

GRADES: Teacher Workshop

If you are an educator, approximately 15-20% of your student base is neurodivergent, which means they may think, socialize and learn differently than their neurotypical peers. This can pose a challenge to teachers catering to students with vastly different needs. The great news is that by incorporating the arts (drama. music and movement) students have access to multi-model approaches that cater to their learning styles and regulation needs. Most importantly, students are learning vital social emotional skills that enable them to express curiosity, think critically and connect with peers. When educators gain neurodiversity know-how, all neurotypes can shine!

Max Participants: 30

Duration: 2 hours. Two workshops per day maximum

Special Requirements:

  • Teacher Training
  • Room to move and do experientials 10×10
  • Projector or Apple Tv
  • Wifi connection
  • Table for props
  • Podium/ High Table or Music Stand for Computer

Single Session Fee: $375 per 2-hour session

Workshop AND Action!

GRADES: 3 – 8

Based on almost two decades of working in schools, Liz McDonough has developed a cutting-edge theater-based approach that spurs on growth by harnessing student strengths. AND ACTION! classes allow students to gain social-emotional skills through playful experiential learning. By creating a theatrical learning lab that is accessible to all neurotypes, students will gain self-awareness and build emotional vocabulary while discovering their strengths. Classes will also supply a healthy dose of play, which is the foundation of abstract reasoning, social engagement and complex problem-solving.

Max Participants: 24 (negotiable on a case by case basis)

Duration: 60 minutes

Special Requirements: 

  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Room to move 15 X 15
  • Apple TV or Projector 
  • Access to outlets Wireless signal

Single Workshop Fee: $187.50 per session
Two Workshops Fee: $343.75 for two back-to-back sessions (same location)