Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

Robyn Flatt Honored by American Alliance for Theatre and Education for Contributions to Theatre for Young Audiences

RobynHeadshot'11Robyn Flatt, Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT), has been awarded the prestigious Orlin Corey Award for Artistic Excellence from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). Flatt has directed and championed the development of over 100 productions of plays for young people, a milestone artistic achievement and contribution to theatre for young audiences. She will be presented with the award at the AATE National Conference in Boston in late July 2016.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my work in the arts community, and my work with children in particular,” said Flatt. “Inspiring young people through different theater experiences has been a gift to me, and I am truly proud to be able to use my love of this amazing art form to inspire creativity in children.”

Flatt has extensive experience with both theater and education.  She was the Assistant Artistic Director and Director of Theater-in-the-Parks during her tenure as a member of the resident company at Dallas Theater Center in the 70’s and early 80’s. For more than 30 years at DCT, she has fostered a close relationship between theater and education by making both a priority in all of the theater’s programming.

Most recently, Flatt has been championing DCT SHOWTIME, a program made possible by a grant from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Cultural Vitality Program. This program is an opportunity for kids who have had scarce experience with the arts to meet and learn from professional actors and get a preview of an upcoming show.  DCT staff and actors go on the road to area Dallas Public Libraries and other community meeting places. Actors arrive in costume with props from a DCT mainstage production and perform selected scenes before encouraging children to touch and ask questions about props, costumes, and things they noticed the actors say and do.

Flatt also developed Curtains Up On Reading, a highly successful program for integrating the arts into core curriculum in Dallas area schools. As part of this immersive program, DCT teaching artists travel to local elementary and middle schools to use elements of the arts to help children who may be struggling with the traditional teaching of math, history, English or other subjects. Research wholeheartedly supports such an approach, particularly for children of color and those with learning differences.

As a professional actor, director, and lighting designer in Dallas, Flatt has directed many major works in the youth theater canon including To Kill A Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Miracle Worker. She has also pushed for creation of five world premiere musical adaptations of books by internationally renowned author/illustrator Steven Kellogg, including his popular titles The Island of the Skog, The Three Sillies, and The Pied Piper. To increase appreciation and understanding of the racial diversity in Dallas, she has encouraged the development of and directed new scripts including Señora Tortuga, Anansi the Spiderman, Coyote Tales, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daugthers, and The Legend of the Bluebonnet.

Flatt served on the board of AATE (Vice President/1998-2001) and ASSITEJ/USA (TYA/USA) from 1995-2001. She was inducted into the college of Fellows for the Southwest Theater Association in 1999 and the College of Fellows of American Theater in 2007 (serving on its Executive Committee for two years). She joined the Board of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America in 2003 and served as Treasurer for six years.

Orlin Corey Award for Artistic Excellence

This award celebrates the full spectrum of artists in the field, including, but not limited to, directors, designers, actors, choreographers, composers, puppeteers and videographers. It honors  a particular artistic achievement or a unique artistic contribution to theatre for young audiences. It can be presented at any time in an artist’s career.

About AATE

AATE, among the most recognized arts education organizations, works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theatre arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. AATE is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Through its membership of theatre artists, inservice and pre-service teachers, professors, directors, scholars and playwrights, AATE serves more than a million students in 48 U.S. states and 19 countries worldwide.

About Dallas Children’s Theater

Dallas Children’s Theater features professional actors performing for an annual audience of 250,000 young people and their families through mainstage productions (12 in the 2015-16 season), a national touring company, and an arts-in-education program.  As the only major organization in Dallas focusing solely on youth and family theater, DCT builds bridges of understanding between generations and cultures, instilling an early appreciation of literature, art and the performing arts in tomorrow’s artists and patrons.

 

A Dramatic Summer For The Kids Thanks To Dallas Children’s Theater

As a mom, I have a very intimate love/hate relationship with summer break. I’m glad my kids have time to recharge for the next school year, but they also need a place to unload all their energy! Finding valuable experiences in places around the neighborhood is important to me, and I want it to be worth my kids’ time. This summer, Dallas Children’s Theater has a brand new opportunity to do just that, so I have to share with fellow parents.

Kids with Kevin Pellicone; photo by Craig LynchThe program is called DCT SHOWTIME. It’s an opportunity for kids to experience a special brand of theater at a location that is hopefully right in your own neighborhood or nearby. They’ll be at select branches of the Dallas Public Library and other community meeting locations here in Dallas, throughout the entire summer. Yes—they will be hosting DCT SHOWTIME until September!

Actors from their shows PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL and MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE will come in full costume to teach about theater. They’ll act out a few scenes from the show (as a preview of what kids will see when they actually come see the full play), and then the session will morph into a completely interactive experience. Kids will work with the actors to learn a song and dance from the show; they’ll have the opportunity to touch and actually use some of the props; and they’ll even create their own story with the help of the professional actors. After the program ends, all the kids who participate even get a voucher for a free ticket to the show!

For years, DCT has provided a similar program called DCT Storytime. This program also takes place at local libraries and guides kids through a different kind of “page to stage” learning experience. Graduate-level theater students who intern at DCT over the summer are tasked with reading a storybook to kids. Then the entire group talks about and dissects the book, before creating an all-new story as a group. Interns take costumes along for this program so kids can really get into character. It’s pretty special seeing shy kids or those who haven’t been around theater suddenly coming out of their shell.

Interested crowd; photo by Craig Lynch

Believe me, I know activities have to be fun to really pull my kids away from this game or that device. DCT knows this too, so that’s why they wanted me to share a little information on why they started these programs.

According to their website, DCT SHOWTIME and DCT Storytime are all about exposing kids to the arts in general, and theater in particular. Robyn Flatt started the theater and is their Executive Artistic Director. She says that participating in the arts is important for kids because it inspires curiosity and learning in all other areas of their lives. Theater teaches our kids skills like sharing emotions in different ways, being able to focus for long periods of time, team building, and decision making. As a parent, these are absolutely the kinds of skills I want my kids to be learning because those are the ones that will help them succeed later in life when I can’t be there to remind them about stuff like their homework.

Kids with Faye Austin; photo by Craig LynchAs it turns out, the new program is funded by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. DCT has a grant from the Cultural Vitality Program that is making all of these promotional appearances and this teaching possible. The city’s Office of Cultural Affairs is focused on building new audiences, and DCT SHOWTIME is helping to increase access to theater for a much broader range of children and families in our city. I think by making sure this program happens in easily accessible locations, like libraries, that DCT is doing right by those who haven’t ever been able to attend a full-length musical.

Planning summer activities can be time consuming sometimes, but I would really like my kids to try out DCT SHOWTIME or DCT Storytime for that matter. I love how interactive they are meant to be, and that my boys will be exposed to something they haven’t tried out yet. I’ll definitely follow along with DCT as the summer progresses, and they host more and more of these sessions.

If you’re interested in learning more about DCT SHOWTIME or DCT Storytime as an activity for your family to participate in, look for updates posted to dct.org/summershowtime. But for your convenience, I’ve added a list of all their dates below.

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Sherry Ward is a mom and actress living in DFW. She has two boys, ages 9 and 7.

 

DCT SHOWTIME promotional appearance dates

 

Date Time Show Location Address
6/21/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Highland Hills 6200 Bonnie View Road, Dallas, TX 75241
6/22/2016 3:30pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Bachman Lake 9480 Webb Chapel Rd., Dallas, TX 75220
6/30/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Audelia Rd (Large Meeting Room) 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
7/1/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Hampton-Illinois (Black Box) 2951 South Hampton, Dallas, TX 75224
7/5/2016 2:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Lochwood (Black Box) 11221 Lochwood, Dallas, TX 75218
9/2/2016 6:30pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Townview School 201 E. 8th Street, Dallas, TX 75203
9/8/2016 10:30am Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Highland Hills 6200 Bonnie View Road, Dallas, TX 75241
9/20/2016 3:30pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Audelia Rd 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
9/21/2016 4:00pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Lochwood 11221 Lochwood, Dallas, TX 75218

 

DCT Storytime promotional appearance dates

 

Date Time Event Location Address
6/13/2016 11:00am Canterra Park Apts. 9750 Royal Lane, Dallas 75231
6/13/2016 1:30pm Arcadia Park 1302 N. Justin Ave., Dallas 75211
6/14/2016 11:00am Audelia Rd 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
6/14/2016 1:30pm Timberglen 18505 Midway, Dallas 75287
6/15/2016 11:00am Jonsson Central Library 1515 Young, 2nd Fl, Dallas 75201
6/15/2016 1:30pm White Rock Hills 9150 Ferguson Road, Dallas, 75228
6/16/2016 11:00am Kleberg-Rylie 1301 Edd Rd., Dallas 75253
6/16/2016 1:30pm Skillman/Southwestern 5707 Skillman, Dallas 75206
6/20/2016 11:00am Greenville Apts. 5759 Pineland Dr., Dallas 75231
6/20/2016 1:30pm Heart House Wildflower 8515 Park Lane#307, Dallas75231
6/21/2016 11:00am Regal Villa Apts. 9501 Brockbank Dr., 75220
6/21/2016 1:30pm MLK Branch 2922 MLK Jr. Blvd., Dallas, TX 75215
6/22/2016 11:00am North Oak Cliff 302 W. 10th St.,   Dallas, TX 75208
6/22/2016 2:00pm Park Forest 3421 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75234
6/23/2016 11:00am North Oak Cliff 302 W. 10th St.,   Dallas, TX 75208
6/23/2016 1:30pm Polk Wisdom 7151 Library Ln., Dallas, TX 75232
6/24/2016 11:30am Dallas West 2332 Singleton Blvd, Dallas 75212
6/24/2016 1:30pm Skyline 6006 Everglade Rd. Dallas, TX 75227
6/28/2016 11:00am Prairie Creek 9609 Lake June Rd., Dallas, TX 75217
6/28/2016 1:30pm Pleasant Grove 7310 Lake June Rd., Dallas, TX 75217
6/29/2016 11:00am Forest Green 9015 Forest Ln., Dallas, 75243
6/29/2016 1:30pm Mountain Creek 6102 Mountain Creek Pkwy., Dallas, TX
6/30/2016 1:30pm Renner Frankfort 6400 Frankford Rd., Dallas, TX 75252
7/5/2016 11:00am Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest 2008 E. Kiest Blvd., Dallas, TX 75216
7/5/2016 1:30pm Fretz Park 6990 Belt Line Rd., Dallas, TX 75254
7/6/2016 11:00am Hampton-Illinois 2951 S. Hampton Rd, Dallas 75224
7/6/2016 1:00pm Trinity River Mission 2060 Singleton Blvd., Suite #104, Dallas, 75212
7/7/2016 11:00am Oak Lawn 4100 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, 75219
7/7/2016 1:30pm Lochwood 11221 Lochwood, Dallas 75218

 

Nancy Schaeffer’s Love of Pink…and Green

Nancy Schaeffer; image courtesty of DCT

For the past decade Pinkalicious, the sassy and outspoken character created by sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann, has been entertaining young girls through her antics and imagination. Through her love of pink and many hard-learned lessons, Pinkalicious Pinkerton constantly reminds readers why it is important to think before you act.

cut Brussels sprouts; image courtesy of DCTShow Director Nancy Schaeffer is a big fan of the joy in Pinkalicious’ heart, but knows that a balanced diet beats eating too many of Pinkalicious’ pink cupcakes any day. As Schaeffer is prepping veggies, she talks about the importance of everyone eating a rainbow of colorful food. She said, “One of DCT’s doctor friends suggests putting it in these terms: If you have a pet, you want to feed your pet healthy food, and occasionally a few treats.  So do the same for yourself—healthy food and a few treats.”

She knows dessert is great, but doesn’t like eating sweets when she’s too hungryNancy Schaeffer chopping sweet potato; image courtesy of DCT because it upsets her stomach. The fix? “I’d rather eat something healthy then have some treats,” said Schaeffer.

“Lunch is my favorite meal of the day. I love lettuce when it’s in a good salad, and I usually have one for lunch,” said Schaeffer, whose favorite foods include sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and, yes, a piece of dark chocolate for that something sweet. While Nancy hopes everyone will come see PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL (and enjoy a cupcake) while at the theater, she also wanted to share one of her favorite healthy recipes with you. Enjoy!

 

Nancy’s Roasted Veggies

Feeds family of 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

3 heads broccoli

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes

1 pound Brussels sprouts

8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

ingredients; image courtesy of DCTPreheat oven to 400°. Cover two (2) baking sheets in foil. Peel skin off sweet potatoes (optional) and cut into 1″ cubes. Rinse Brussels sprouts and broccoli florets in cool water. Cut Brussels sprouts in half. Trim broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. Spread all across across baking sheets. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix. Cover with foil.

 

Cook:

Roast veggies on baking sheet in 400° oven for 23 minutes. Take baking sheet finished veggies; image courtesy of DCTout of oven and remove foil. Add sliced mushrooms to veggie mix and stir. Recover baking sheet with foil. Cook for additional 7 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven, and let veggies cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

275x275_pinkPINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL runs Now through – July 17, 2016. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets and more information: dct.org/plays/

Show Title Sponsor, Children’s Health, Dishes About Ways to Promote Healthy Eating Among Children

Title-sponsor_childrens health_new

When kids get hungry and it isn’t meal time, what should they do?

First, it is important to identify if your child is actually hungry. Sometimes, we eat for reasons other than hunger. Sometimes, we eat out of boredom, stress, or celebration.

So, you can take several routes.

1) If it is close to meal time, you can explain that meal time is 30 minutes away and redirect the child to finish homework, help set the table, or play outside until meal time.

2) You can offer a healthy snack choice. If your child refuses the healthy snack, that could be a clue that your child wasn’t truly hungry.

As a parent, you know your child. You may be clued in to some hunger or boredom cues that they are not able to recognize. So, parents have a great opportunity to be healthy role models for their children. We get to teach our children about hunger cues versus eating out of boredom or emotion. You can also seek help with your child’s healthy eating by making an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and visiting Children’s Nutrition Clinic. We have a helpful staff with RDNs that can help you and your family navigate eating in a healthy way. You can visit our website for more information.

What if a parent puts something on a child’s plate that looks scary and gross?

I would encourage parents to be role models and teachers. Take your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Let your children help select a food they want to try. Let your child help you prepare foods with age-appropriate kitchen tasks. Teach your children about the food, where it comes from, and how to prepare it. That makes new foods more familiar and less scary.

Secondly, be a healthy role model by enjoying the food with your child. All parents are role models for their children, so let your child see you eat the food and enjoy it.

Third, try offering new foods in different ways. Offer the food cooked in different ways: steamed, roasted, in a soup, with cheese, or raw. Then, you can have the child give their preference on how they most enjoy the food. This changes the question from if your child will or will not eat the food to how they prefer to eat the food. So, we still get the healthy behavior of eating a variety of healthy foods, and your child has a choice that honors their preferences.

Fourth, we want to make sure we are offering new foods in a neutral manner. We should avoid pressuring or forcing our children to clean their plate if they state they are full. Children are usually good at recognizing when they are full. Trying new foods should be a positive experience. Our goal is to encourage healthy eating in a pleasant environment.

What happens to the body when kids consume too much sugar versus what happens when kids eat healthy food?

When we eat foods high in added sugar or fat, we consume many “empty calories.” Empty-calorie foods are high in calories and low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Food is our fuel. It gives us energy to grow, learn, and play. We want to fuel our bodies in a healthy way, so we can grow to be strong and healthy. Eating healthy means including nutrient-dense foods, which are packed with vitamins and minerals. We know that eating a healthy, balanced diet fuels our body in a healthy way and can prevent disease later in life.

What are some unexpected sources of too much sugar, fat, etc., something we might not realize is potentially bad for us?

_KA16279I call these foods “sneaky foods.” We may think we are making healthy choices when we are consuming sneaky sources of sugar. I think most people are surprised that sports drinks, flavored waters, and juices are high in sugar. It is recommended that we limit sugary beverages, like juice, to less than or equal to 4 ounces per day. I encourage families to offer whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices because whole foods have fiber. Fiber helps with satiety (the feeling of fullness), can help lower cholesterol, and helps with ease and regularity of bowel movements.

What are some favorite foods of you and your doctors?

Since it is spring, I love to use the fresh, seasonal produce. I also love putting fruits in my salad. For people that have a sweet tooth adding fruits to salad can be an appealing way to enjoy eating your fruits and veggies! I really love putting strawberries and blueberries in a spinach salad. You can dress it lightly with a vinaigrette-style salad dressing. I like to add cheese, like feta. You can add protein by adding nuts or chicken, and your salad becomes a great, nutrient-dense meal.

How do you explain the idea of moderation?

I use the analogy of a stoplight to discuss moderation. There are some food choices that are high in added sugar, saturated fats, or trans-fats, and those are “red-light foods.” We stop at a red light, so we do the same with these foods. We stop eating these foods on a daily basis and choose these foods very rarely. The next category is “yellow-light foods.” They are foods that we eat occasionally. The third category is “green-light foods.” These foods are nutrient-dense foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. They are healthy foods that we should choose to eat daily. They are “go foods,” so eat and enjoy these foods every day!

If you want more information about the stoplight foods and other ways to eat in moderation and overall health, ask your doctor about referring your family to the Nutrition Clinic.

Denon Stacy, MS, RD, CSP, LD Clinical Dietician at Children’s Health

Denon Stacy, MS, RD, CSP, LD
Clinical Dietician at Children’s Health

Children’s Health is a proud sponsor of PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL running NOW through July 17 at Dallas Children’s Theater. For ticket information, go to dct.org.

275x275_pinkAbout the show: When Pinkalicious doesn’t heed her parents’ warnings and indulges in too many pink goodies, she has to make some healthy choices to fight off a bad case of Pinkititis. Pinkalicious will finally eat a little green, her little brother will no longer be blue, and all kids will learn to show their true colors! The popular book pops off the stage in this high-energy musical treat that kids will love even more than pink cupcakes!

 

 

Young designers explore the power of pink!

“PINKALICIOUS is pure joy,” says director Nancy Schaeffer. In preparation for a pinkatastic run, DCT Costume Designer Lyle Huchton and Nancy workedimage 1 with a class of young designers to create the ultimate costumes for the characters representing the cupcake dreams of Pinkalicious as she is in the throes of Pinkititis.

Here’s how they recall the fun session:

Why do you think the young designers wanted to take the class? 

NANCY: There were kids in the class who had taken acting classes, and I think they wanted to try something new and to use their visual art creativity.  Some really loved the book and the characters and the concepts of PINKALICIOUS as well.  

LYLE: All the kids who took the class seemed really interested in costume design and learning how to sew. 

Describe the activity. 

LYLE: The challenge was to re-design the Dancing Cupcakes for image 2PINKALICIOUS. One cupcake was left as is with just some trim added to it. Two were designed from pictures I provided them of actual cupcakes. And one was a group design idea/concept.

NANCY: There was a great combination of individual and group ideas and sharing.  That is what theater is all about after all!

What do you think the participants got out of the class? 

LYLE: The designers were taught basic hand sewing techniques. They also were taught how to identify certain types of fabric, and the importance of idea collaboration.

Nancy: I think Lyle was inspired by the kids — as usual.  These kids have so much to offer us! 

Both agreed their favorite part was on the last day of the class. The students image 3gave their parents a presentation which included describing the cupcakes, sharing what they named the cupcakes and talking about what each one of them contributed to the end product. They sounded like little designers!

Lyle added, “The cupcake names are Cherry Vanilla Twist, Strawberry Rose Sparkle, Pink Velvet Glitter Surprise, and Pink Peppermint Polka-Dot Swirl.”

275x275_pinkThere’s no limit to young dreams and imaginations, and PINKALICIOUS packs a world of pink wonder into a musical that will be so much fun, you’ll never forget it or its life lessons. Check out PINKALICIOUS at DCT June 17 – July 17. For tickets, go to dct.org.

 

 

 

Why Judging A Book By Its Cover is Flawed…

There are ma_KA34612ny lessons to be gathered from Roald Dahl’s stories. His giant imagination and child-like acceptance of worlds that defy logic help us to digest very real lessons. Dahl may not be the best to reinforce stranger danger (if a giant or life-size bugs show up at your house, your children should NOT go with them), but one of the greatest lessons is that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

We visited with two librarian friends recently who had something specific to say about this lesson:

Christina Hudman, Oak Lawn Public Library

I would say the main message of The Big Friendly Giant is don’t always judge people on what they look like or how they appear, because you might make a friend out of the most unlikely person.

Star Kulp, Children’s Librarian at the Timber Glen Branch

The main message of The Big Friendly Giant is that not all scary-seeming _KA18695_cropthings are scary, and with a little pluck and a little luck, you can get some big things done.

There’s definitely a theme here. Imagine young Sophie, gazing out the window as she did each day and suddenly finding a giant peering back at her. That’s scary. As she cautiously got to know him, though, she came to realize that he had an important job — to guard her dreams. He had no interest at all in eating her. He was a vegetarian, after all. She then summoned her bravery and followed her gut, and together they embarked on an unforgettable journey.

Fear exists for a reason. It keeps our guard up and warns us against potential danger. Sometimes, however, our fear prevents us from trying new things. These experiences in which we have to take a step into the unknown almost always prove to be the most rewarding.

As we talk about not judging a book by its cover, let’s examine the Giant’s appearance. He looks odd. Even if he wasn’t four times the size as a human, he’s got those ears! He’s not exactly approachable. To speak frankly, he just looks different than the rest of us. As a rule, we aren’t drawn to people who don’t share our similarities. We don’t even try to relate to them. We judge them before ever interacting with them.

That’s sad.

_KA18451What if we were the one that looked different? How would we want people to treat us? The BFG opens our hearts in a way that tells us we can’t always trust our eyes. Everything we teach about manners and kindness takes a backseat to our fear of the unknown, which is totally based on what we see. We instead listen to our inner voice that says, “They’re sick, they’re homeless, they’re different, they’re dangerous.”

Hopefully DCT’S Big Friendly Giant will remind us to at least give those we don’t know a fighting chance before we judge them. My kids like to say, “We’re all a little bit weirdo,” and I think that’s right. Own your weirdo and embrace it, and dare to understand and APPRECIATE what makes others different than you. Perhaps we’ll all be a little better off if we take a moment to celebrate what makes us all unique. Remember, too, to share your snozzcumbers and do your best to keep the bad dreams away.

275x275_bfgYour last chance to see The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) at DCT for yourself is this weekend. Don’t miss your chance! Only four shows left so grab your tickets now at dct.org!

See the story that inspired the new Steven Spielberg movie coming out July of this year! Early reviews suggest it is a hit.

Roald Dahl’s Whoopsy-Spunkling Imagination

_KA18627Roald Dahl’s highly imaginative trademark writing style has whisked generations of readers into magical worlds. The “whizzcracklingly” wacky tale of THE BFG was Dahl’s personal favorite of his own works and is now home on the DCT stage after making its way across this country as this year’s national tour production.

Two local librarians took some time to talk to us about Roald Dahl and what makes him one of their all-time favorite writers. Christina Hudman is library associate at the Oak Lawn Public Library. Star Kulp is the Children’s Librarian at the Timber Glen Branch. They shared their expertise and their personal enthusiasm for Roald Dahl.

CHRISTINA: I love Roald Dahl because he makes ordinary life situ_KA34735ations with kids magical and wonderful and exciting, and just really come to life in a way that other authors don’t. He’ll take you on adventures that you never thought you’d go on, and he’ll create great characters that will stay with you forever, because his stories are just amazing. They take you to places you never thought you’d go.

STAR: I love Roald Dahl because he creates worlds that are extraordinary, but you don’t even second guess the strange things that happen there because they just make sense to the story. My favorite Roald Dahl story is CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I love that world he created where this poor little boy could be exposed to the magic. But it was not even magic. It’s a world you believe in. Roald Dahl’s writing is different, and children w_KA35016ill be interested because he will take them to different worlds – a world where a giant is friendly, who gathers dreams to give to children, and a world where a boy can fit inside a peach pit and travel around the world. There’s no logic to his books, but they’re so much fun.

Both library professionals are eager to see how THE BFG comes to life on stage – what the Giant and his world will look like, and how Sophie will be transported to his world. We also discussed how some of Dahl’s writing is sometimes scary or even dark.

CHRISTINA: Just because something’s dark doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. I like a lot of dark humor and dark stories. I think assuming kids always want happy, and always have happy,… kids experience a lot of emotions, and I think Dahl touches on a lot of emotions that other authors don’t touch.

_KA34963STAR: I think kids are a whole lot smarter and with it than we think they are. We can expose them to things that may be dark, but they’re going to see the light in it because kids are positive, and they’ll find the light in any dark that shows up.

 

Every time THE BFG came up, a smile immediately crept to Christina’s face, letting us know that, like Dahl, it is a personal favorite.

CHRISTINA: I got to read THE BFG in third grade. Up until then I really had a hard time reading and didn’t really have a good time reading. It was the first story I really connected to and really, really enjoyed reading. Ever since then, all of his other books have been really important to me. I just love it because the giant that you’re supposed to be scared of, and you are scared of at first, turns out to be this loveable, heartwarming creature. It’s just a great story.

Our library friends compared Dahl’s creativity to that of children who are not bound by logic and what is possible. Star mentioned how quickly we accept OompaLoompas as a real part of a world made of candy, and how wonderful it is for adults to also get swept up into these worlds. We at DCT look forward to making Giantland a reality for Dallas families this spring.

275x275_bfg

THE BFG runs April 29 – May 22.

We promise that it will be a Phizz-Whizzing experience!

Tickets and more information.

Karl Schaefer, M.D. (Moonlighting Doctor)

 

KarlThe longtime member of DCT writes prescriptions for laughter on and off the stage.

As the first employee back in 1984 at the Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) and a current artist-in-residence, Karl Schaefer has spent more than three decades applying his unique talent, unyielding energy and impeccable comic timing to countless DCT productions.

His art will shine for the second straight season in the DCT production of BALLOONACY – running tonight through May 1.

As if juggling everything at DCT wasn’t enough, Karl threw one more ball into the mix. Last fall, he took on the role of a doctor. Or was it a clown? It actually was both. Karl is among the newest members of the Funnyatrics Clown Program at Children’s HealthSM – a nine-member clown troupe dedicated to making life better and a little funnier for children.

“When I first saw Funnyatrics at a clown workshop, I knew I had to be part of the fun,” says Karl. “I’ve been blessed with a career that allows me to interact with people, especially young people. But as a member of Funnyatrics, I get to connect with children in a way I never have before.”

As Dr. Fred Frivolous in the Funnyatrics clown troupe, Karl and his very big shoes walk the halls of Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Plano, visiting patients and making a difference. He uses his many talents to bring some serious joy to kids who are going through some serious medical issues. Whether it’s a little juggling, a funny joke, some magic or an upbeat musical ditty, Karl plays an important role in the healing process by offering kids an outlet – to just be kids.

“Working with the team and the patients at Children’s Health is a reality check,” adds Karl. “I’ve never been more grateful for everything that I have. It feels good to know that Children’s Health is committed to brightening a child’s day with great programs like Funnyatrics, as well as art, music and pet therapy programs.”

And now Karl’s full-time and part-time gigs are coming full circle. Children’s Health is a proud supporter of the DCT and a sponsor of the 2016 production of BALLOONACY.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my role at DCT and my new role as Dr. Fred Frivolous, the clown who writes prescriptions for joy,” exclaims Karl.

After all, sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

 

Balloonacy-endcard

BALLOONACY
By Barry Kornhauser

Back by Popular Demand

April 15 – May 1, 2016

Recommended for ages 2 and up

www.dct.org

Grown-ups Share How Edward Tulane Impacted Them

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo is for readers young and old. Life changes can be hard to accept at times. As humans, we underappreciate the value of looking outside of self and being present for whatever experience life puts before us. To think that adults might be inspired to treasure deeper connections with all people by a toy rabbit is a strange idea. But, in THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, we are all reminded that being present and supportive of others is sometimes the path to the life of our dreams.

Ed Tulane - With AbileneGeorgiana Shelekov is the VP of Education on DCT’s Board of Directors. She told us about her fond memories of reading the book with her children when they were in elementary school.

The author, Kate DiCamillo, writes about emotional issues without underestimating her audience—mature feelings are dealt with in a straightforward manner that all children, and adults, can understand. Relatively speaking, that’s a rarity in books for children this age. Descriptions of people who come and go in Edward’s life are concise, yet evocative and complete. 

Both the reader and Edward come to see the power of hope and love in the Ed Tulane - With Fishermanworld. Edward’s journey, in many ways, mirrors the growth of our children and youth as they go through their evolution.

DCT’s Communications team hosted a staged reading of the script for our Journeymaker families, but also invited special guests like Sarah Eppes, friend of Board President, Carol March. Sarah said she was not emotionally prepared for the depth of the storytelling in this play:

I spent most of the night trying not to cry. For me, the core of what good theater is, is a well-written and emotionally compelling story. The reading was a good way to introduce a newer children’s story to those who wouldn’t know it.

June Dales, special guest of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE director Artie Olaisen, first read the book to her children nine years ago, and it immediately became her favorite book of all time.

Ed Tulane - Being Repaired by LuciusIt’s funny how reading a book about a toy rabbit touched me emotionally in so many different ways. Edward started his life sitting in front of a mirror, admiring himself with no margin for other people. And life seems so focused on a ‘me, me, me’ attitude these days. This book really teaches that you have to be present. And honestly, sometimes you must force yourself to be open to change.

Both the play and the book about Edward Tulane are full of hope and truth about life. Through book author Kate DiCamillo and playwright Dwayne Hartford’s words, both kids and adults are able to look at their lives the same way Edward did; by realizing that sometimes you have to hit bottom in life before you can get better.

Embarking on your own miraculous journey begins at DCT! Join us for a performance of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, running until April 10. Reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at 214-740-0051 or visit dct.org.

Illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline
You can find out more about Bagram Ibatoulline at the Candlewick Press website, http://www.candlewick.com.
Illustrations copyright © 2006 Bagram Ibatoulline.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

ISBN 0-7636-2589-2.

 

EdwardTulane

 

KATE DiCAMILLO’S

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Adapted by Dwayne Hartford

Running through April 10, 2016

Recommended for ages 7 and up

www.dct.org

Burks Children Bond Through Years of Working Together

D and B 1

In the classic fairy tale, HANSEL AND GRETEL, brother and sister must work together to escape traps set by the evil Ginger Witch. Audiences might be surprised to learn that some of the puppeteers in the Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts troupe are family members—including Ms. Burks’ children! We caught up with Master Puppeteers Becky Burks Keenan (BBK) and Doug Burks (DB) to learn about growing up alongside and working with a creative sibling.

How would you describe your brother/sister?

BBK: Doug is a kind-hearted and loving person. His best quality is his dependability.

DB: My sister is kind, talented, funny, statuesque, and beautiful. She has the ability to see the good in everyone.

What’s one of the most notable memories you made together while growing up?

DB: My most vivid memories are of the two of us acting out our favorite movies and TV shows.

BBK: My best friend, Trici, would spend the night on weekends and we would D and B 2dress up, Doug included, and create all kinds of characters. Or if we weren’t acting something out we would watch the Carol Burnett Show or Sonny and Cher and dream of being a part of their casts! One time Doug almost set his room on fire playing the role of Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows. He was holding up a candle very dramatically next to his mummy skulls and fishing nets hung up on his wall. We put it out with a can of Dr. Pepper. Needless to say Mom and Dad weren’t home.

Who got into puppeteering first?

BBK: We took lessons together and have always enjoyed working with one another.

DB: Having both been involved in theater and dance, we both got into puppetry at the same time, as a natural extension of our love of the arts.

Has there ever been a time when you had to problem solve to get out of a sticky situation?

DB: The most difficult situation we worked together to solve occurred after we became adults, when we had to care for our ailing father in the last months of his life.

BBK: A few months before our dad passed away, we were able to move him D and B 5from his house at Lake Whitney and bring him closer to us. We were able to spend quality time with him before he died. I’m so grateful that I had my brother to help me through that difficult time.

What do you like best about working with your brother/sister so often?

DB: The best part of working with my sister, as well as the other members of my family, is that after so many years, we have developed a sort of artistic shorthand. We almost know what the other person is going to do onstage before they do it.

BBK: I like using our creative genes together to provide quality entertainment for the Metroplex. Doug’s kind heart and professionalism makes for an easy and fun work environment. I’m thankful to do this on a regular basis.D and B 4 D and B 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How has having a brother/sister made you a better person?

BBK: It has helped me be a more giving, caring and loving person. Sharing D and B 6my life with such a great brother taught me the wonderful gift of humility, and most importantly to not judge others.

DB: Having a sister has helped me to learn about sharing, compromise and respecting the feelings of others. It also helps that she makes me laugh a lot!

Brothers and sisters are sometimes the best partners to have when getting into and out of trouble.

275x275_hanselHANSEL AND GRETEL plays for only one more weekend(April 2 and 3). Be sure you don’t miss this amazing show and this wonderful family duo. Tickets available at dct.org or call the Box Office at 214-740-0051 for more information.