Things are super busy over here in the Arts and Education Department. Last month we finished up our bilingual tour of The Secret Garden, this month we have opened our winter show, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, and we are in the process of rehearsing our spring show, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Never a dull moment here!
SO FAR THIS YEAR
Over the past few years we have found an incredible response to our bilingual productions in Spanish and English (A Day’s Work, La Mariposa) and schools continue to ask for more. So, when looking over possible productions for 2015-16 we thought, “What about a classic? Let’s make a classic story more accessible to more people.“
We originally toured The Secret Garden in 2010-11 and in deciding to remount it, we added a new and engaging twist: we’d perform it in two languages. We would make this English classic story accessible to kids whose first language is Spanish.
WE TOOK OUR RE-WORKED SHOW ON THE ROAD
Under the guidance of our original adapter, Kelly Kitchens, and with an incredible bilingual cast we were able to reach over 7,700 students and teachers in 38 venues. We toured 12 performances in the North Central Regional Library system and partnered again with the King County Library System in their ”Season of Stories and Songs.”
Additionally, we were able to pilot an exciting addition to our program; sending a fourth person into the field to accompany the actors. If you are familiar with Book-It’s touring program, you know that generally we only have the three actors touring and that they are responsible for every element in the show. With The Secret Garden we were able to add a lead teaching artist to the roster who could help the show run smoothly and allow the actors to focus on their performing responsibilities. This lead teacher was able to help create workshop curriculum, run sound on the road, be the main contact for the schools, and be the lead teacher in our workshops.
Our gamble on a classic bilingual story paid off and our fall show was a wonderful success. It was also a great kick off for the rest of our season. Each touring show has a new element that we are testing this year in an effort to be constantly growing and responsive to community needs.
Since our performances mostly happen in schools, we also offer one public performance of each in a Family Fun Day. Even if you don’t have kids of your own to bring, we invite you to join us — you will be amazed to see our actor/teaching artists in action. Our next Family Fun Day is Flora & Ulysses — mark your calendar for May 7; arts & crafts at 10:30am, show at 11am.
We’re excited to share more with you as we continue forward through our season!