Daniel Perkins graduated from Bristol Community College’s theater program last month. When Perkins was a baby, his parents were told that he would never be able to read, write, or speak.
Perkins, who was later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and attention deficit disorder, will be continuing his education at Bridgewater State College and majoring in theater with a minor in English. The actor said that he hasn’t let his autism inhibit him in any way. Instead, he has used it as a “key” to unlock his true passion: theater.
At nine years old, Perkins found his passion when saw a production of “Beauty and the Beast.” His passion was rejuvenated two years later when he saw “Chicago.” From then on, the young man has been in a number of plays including “August: Osage County,” “Big Love,” and most recently “Robin Hood.” Perkins has also worked with Trinity Repertory Company’s Project Discovery program and as an usher at the theater.
Perkins says that acting and theater has helped with some of his fears such as expressing himself and being in front of a large group; fears that are often associated with autism. He also says that acting has taught him how to be empathetic, understand humor, and interpret body language.
Not only has Perkins developed interpersonal skills through acting, but the craft has also helped in his other classes, such as math and science. Bristol Community College offers tools to help people in their Disability Services program. Perkins says that he takes full advantage of it and uses items like voice recorders to practice.
Before Perkins heads to Bridgewater State College, he will be working as a junior counselor at Trinity Rep’s summer theater camp.
Written By Sejal Sheth