Detour Company Theatre offers opportunity to shine for everyone

A view of a recent Beauty and Beast Rehearsal at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo credit: Christine Keith)

As we all traverse through the birth of the Digital Age it is believed we will all experience our “15 minutes of fame.”

But for those who have been forced to overcome more obstacles and persevere through hardships many of us cannot fathom in our everyday lives that attainment of those 15 minutes seems as likely as plucking a star from the sky.

But that’s where the Detour Company Theatre comes in.

The Detour Company Theatre, which was born in 2003 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, hosts typically two musical performances a year at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd St. in downtown Scottsdale.

The mission of the Detour Company Theatre is to provide an authentic, accessible theatre opportunity for adults with cognitive and physical challenges, deafness and blindness that require additional support and adaptive techniques.

“Detour provides an opportunity for individuals with disability that is not available anywhere else in the Valley,” said Detour Development Director Laurie Person in a May 12 phone interview.

The Detour Company Theatre is a place for all who want to particpate in the arts are afforded that opportunity. (Photo credit: Christine Keith)

“When we do our performances they are free of charge so everyone can attend, and we are talking about families who have a low income or a fixed income or having access to public theater is not really an option.”

Ms. Person says Detour is meant to provide an opportunity to participate in the arts for those who may not believe the opportunity was not attainable.

“We take individuals who are maybe very shy and are trying to overcome their shyness and be with others. Many have watched their peers and they have never had an opportunity to be in the spotlight. We enable families to see potential in their family members — we try to make this a two-way street.”

The Scottsdale Charros are providing the Detour Company Theatre with a $5,000 grant this year meant to help bolster the theater’s “on tour” effort. The new effort will bring the works of the Detour Company Theatre to the Scottsdale Unified District.

“We anticipate participation by 2,500 fourth- and fifth-grade children,” Ms. Person said in her grant application.

“Project goals are to supplement the existing SUSD art, character training, special education and state arts education standards, by demonstrating the abilities of everyone. We would also like to broaden our audience and serve as a resource to children who may not be able to attend a traditional Detour performance.”

For 56 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

“The Detour Company Theatre aligns with our mission to serve the youth of Scottsdale,” said Scottsdale Charros Executive Director Dennis Robbins. “In addition, this program serves those children who have some kind of disability that does not allow them to participate in existing theatre settings. It is a creative outlet for children who aspire to be in a production but does not otherwise have that opportunity.”

Mr. Robbins points out all performances occur within Scottsdale but all are welcome.

“The regular Detour Theatre performances all occur at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts,” he pointed out.

“This traveling program is geared toward children in the fourth and fifth grades in the Scottsdale Unified School District. Our mission is to support the youth in our community. This is a great way to help children have experiences they crave but normally would not be able to participate.”

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Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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