University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Partners with Acting Without Boundaries to Publish Exclusive Study

Christine Rouse

By Christine Rouse on March 6, 2024

Philadelphia, PA – March 6, 2024 – The University of Pennsylvania’s department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, in collaboration with Acting Without Boundaries (AWB), is pleased to announce the acceptance for publication of their manuscript, “The Effects of Acting Programs on Adults with Disabilities,” by the esteemed Journal of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Disabilities.

This groundbreaking study, inspired by the innovative AWB acting lab, sheds light on the transformative impact of theatre classes on adults with neurological disabilities. The manuscript, soon to be published, highlights the positive outcomes observed through virtual and in-person acting labs conducted by AWB theatre professionals in partnership with a variety of partnering organizations serving people with physical disabilities.

The AWB acting lab curriculum, tailored for facilities working with individuals who have physical disabilities, were brought to life at the Hospital of UPenn with a focus on groups such as the cerebral palsy group and a veteran’s group. These inclusive classes covered various aspects of theatrical arts, including vocal warm-ups, script writing, and improvisation. Participants actively engaged in developing acting skills, cathartic expression and some programs created short videos. UPenn’s cerebral palsy support group produced a poignant piece addressing social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a landscape where performing arts programs for non-school-aged adults with disabilities are scarce, AWB’s acting labs emerge as a beacon of social and artistic opportunity. The study’s findings reveal that participants experienced enhanced self-esteem, acquired new skills such as public speaking, and reported improvements in emotional well-being.

We are thrilled to see our work recognized by the Journal of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Disabilities. This collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania reaffirms the positive impact of our programs on the lives of individuals with physical disabilities,” said Kimberly Crowley, Board Chair at Acting Without Boundaries. “The performing arts have proven to be a powerful catalyst for positive change, providing not just entertainment but fostering personal growth and social connections beyond the stage.”

As AWB proudly accepts this accolade, the organization remains committed to its mission of using the performing arts to empower and enrich the lives of people with physical disabilities. The forthcoming publication marks a significant milestone, validating the importance of arts-based interventions in enhancing the well-being of individuals facing unique challenges.

For more information on Acting Without Boundaries and their transformative programs, please visit

About Acting Without Boundaries: Acting Without Boundaries (AWB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing inclusive and accessible performing arts programs for individuals of all ages with physical disabilities. Through innovative initiatives like the AWB acting labs, the organization aims to empower participants and break down barriers to artistic expression. For more information, please visit

Press Contact:

Erika Dandridge, Associate Director, AWB


Phone: 610-922-8240

A group of AWB actors on stage rehearsing for a performance.

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