Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

ACCLAIMED PLAYWRIGHT COMMISSIONED FOR INNOVATIVE NEW WORK

Paige Hernandez will create theater piece based on Maya Angelou’s poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me”

“Shadow on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all”

So begins the poem by famed poet and author Maya Angelou, and soon this poem about courage, resilience and strength will be adapted into a new theater piece for children by multidisciplinary artist Paige Hernandez (she/her/hers).  

Hernandez is a critically acclaimed playwright, performer, director, and choreographer, based in the Washington, DC area.  She has been co-commissioned to create this new work by four theater companies:  Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (NC), Children’s Theater of Madison (WI), Dallas Children’s Theater (TX), and The Rose (NE).  Hernandez is most notably known for her effective fusion of theatre, hip-hop, dance, and education.  She will work directly with children in each theater’s community to generate the content of the play, using the poem and the illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquiat as inspiration and source material.  

“To say that this project feels like a perfect fit is an understatement! I have been a lifelong fan of (Maya) Angelou, (Jean-Michel) Basquiat and specifically of Angelou’s poem, ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.’ I have taught this poem for many years and look forward to putting my mindful hip hop aesthetic into a devised children’s theatre piece,” says Hernandez.  The project will begin in early 2022, with Hernandez conducting workshops with children in each of the theaters’ communities.  These highly participatory workshops will illuminate the similarities and differences of children from different parts of the country, as they respond to the same artistic stimulus. From the workshops, Hernandez will cull and adapt the material which will be used in the creation of the play itself.  Visual art, music, dance, spoken word, and other artistic forms will be incorporated into the final product.

“We are thrilled to have Paige Hernandez on board as Playwright for this project,” says Arlethia Hailstock, School Performance Coordinator and Staff EDI Lead at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. “Paige is an engaging, energetic, and accomplished artist and educator.  Between Angelou’s words, the energy of the young people involved in the workshops, and Paige’s vision, audiences are in for an incredible experience.”

Workshops in the four cities – Charlotte (NC), Madison (WI), Dallas (TX), and Omaha (NE) will involve youth of various ages and demographics, from first grade through teenage.  As Carina DuMarce, Associate Director of CommUNITY Connections at The Rose in Omaha says “The fact that Paige will be workshopping with The Rose while two of our ‘Teens ‘N’ Theater’ programs are rolling is incredibly exciting! These young people have such a strong, creative voice. It’ll be quite magical to see how the words of ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me’ and Paige’s process intertwine with the voice of these teens.” 

The play will get a workshop production at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in August 2022.  From there, a set of rolling premieres will be scheduled at each of the four collaborating theater companies.  The productions will be appropriate for ages 4 – 8.

 “The potential of this project and the collaboration between these flagship theaters and their communities takes my breath away. Audiences can expect an experience that is authentic, insightful, and that amplifies the voices of children from several communities throughout the country,” says Hernandez.

As an arts educator, Paige Hernandez has taught all ages, in several art disciplines. To date, she has reached more than 10,000 students, from pre-K through college, in hundreds of residencies, workshops, and performances around the world. She has been recognized in several organizations including the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts and Arena Stage where she was awarded the Thomas Fichandler award for exceptional promise in theater education. The Huffington Post named Hernandez a “classroom hero” because of her outstanding arts integration work with STEM initiatives.  As a playwright, she has collaborated with the Lincoln Center and has been commissioned by several companies including the National New Play Network, the Smithsonian, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, the Glimmerglass Festival, and the University of Maryland. Hernandez was named a “Top Theatre Worker You Should Know” by American Theatre Magazine, “40 under 40” by the Washingtonian Magazine, a “Rising Leader of Color” by Theatre Communications Group and a “Citizen Artist” by the Kennedy Center. 

Hernandez received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as four Helen Hayes nominations for choreography, directing, and performance. She was recently recognized by the Wall Street Journal for her direction of Proof at Everyman Theatre in Maryland where she is also Associate Artistic Director. With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Hernandez continues to develop original work for multi-cultural and multi-generational hip hop audiences.  Her original one-woman show, “Havana Hop”, a children’s tale of culture and originality, has toured nationally.

Hernandez applied for the commission through a national open call.  She was selected by a committee of representatives from the four collaborating theaters. Though she already had numerous projects on her agenda for the upcoming year, she didn’t hesitate when offered to take on this project.  With customary exuberance, she accepted the theater companies’ offer.  “I am THRILLED for this invitation. THANK YOU! I can’t wait to dig in,” she said. 

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About the project:

A new play by Paige Hernandez, for children ages 3-6 years old, based on Maya Angelou’s poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” from the book “And Still I Rise.” ©1978 by Maya Angelou, Used with permission of Caged Bird Legacy, LLC.

About the theaters:

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (NC): Children’s Theatre of Charlotte inspires generations to explore the wonder of their world and foster a sense of belonging and empathy. Initiatives like The Kindness Project develop and commission original plays for young audiences that are grounded in actively displaying kindness toward others. Adam Burke, Artistic Director; Nao Tsurumaki, Managing Director.
www.ctcharlotte.org

Children’s Theater of Madison (WI): CTM’s mission is to create vibrant theater experiences that engage, educate and inspire young people and their communities. Founded in 1965, CTM’s productions cast professional adult actors alongside talented youth. Their extensive educational programs include in-school and after-school programs.  Roseann Sheridan, Artistic Director; Allen Ebert, Executive Director.   www.ctmtheater.org

Dallas Children’s Theater (TX): 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.  Productions feature professional actors performing for an annual audience of 250,000 young people and their families through mainstage productions, a national touring company, and an arts-in-education program. Nancy Schaeffer, Artistic Director; Artie Olsen, Associate Artistic Director.
www.dct.org

The Rose (NE): The Rose Theater in Omaha inspires young people and their families to discover the magic of theater, to find their voices and to enrich their communities. Operating out of a beautiful historic theater, The Rose offers professional productions, student generated works, and a wide array of classes, workshops and residencies serving young people across the metro. Managing Director, Julie Walker and Artistic Director, Matt Gutschick.
www.rosetheater.org

Donors help Dallas Children’s Theater create magic at Children’s Health…

On a quiet Wednesday in September, some very important people met up on the hospital’s Channel 77 for an adventure.

Three of them were adults: the hard-working Seacrest Studios hosts Abbie and Marin, and Dallas Children’s Theater’s own Miss Alyssa (aka Belle from DCT’s production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). There were four children visible on the screen: Angel, Autumn, J Don, and Acone. They were patients at Children’s Health dealing with their own unique set of challenges, but still wanting to be a part of the fun. And, there was a host of other children participating off camera from their rooms. 

Left to right: J Don, Angel, Acone, and Autumn

Ordinarily, Dallas Children’s Theater makes in-person promotional appearances at the hospital to promote upcoming shows. The cast performs short segments and signs autographs for kiddoes and families alike. With COVID regulations, we had to think of alternative ways to connect with our young audiences. And fortunately, such setbacks don’t deter DCT from ensuring that all children get access to live theater.

Left to right: SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE 2019, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD 2016.

“Wow. Yesterday’s show was truly incredible,” sent Abbie in an e-mail after the performance. “We are so excited for next month and can’t thank you enough for all your work in coordinating this virtual workshop. Alyssa is so talented and demonstrated such a deep passion and skill for connecting with and empowering children! We are beyond grateful.”

In wild times such as these, it’s important to remember what really matters: connection, hope, and a whole lot of love.

Dallas Children’s Theater wishes to thank the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation along with Staci and Scott Reznik for making our presence at Children’s Health possible. You believe, as we do, that ALL children deserve the magic of live theater. As we’ve often said, theater is wonderful food for a child’s soul.

Photos: Courtesy of Children’s Health

Bears, Dragons and Lions…oh my! Family fun on sale now.

 


PADDINGTON SAVES CHRISTMAS
Adapted by Doug Kmiotek
Based on the book by Michael Bond
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller 
Directed by Douglass Burks

Dec. 5 – Dec. 23, 2021
Recommended for ages 4 and up

It’s holiday time in the Brown household and Paddington – the famous, accident prone bear – is here to save the day! When he and the Brown’s housekeeper, Mrs. Bird, run out of sugar for the seasonal marmalade jam they are preparing, Paddington heads next door to borrow some from Mr. Curry. Unfortunately, the usually grumpy Mr. Curry is even more short tempered than normal as he prepares for a visit from his great aunt who is a stickler for tidiness. Paddington, feeling sorry for Mr. Curry, volunteers to help him with his chores. But Paddington’s good intentions end up leading to chaos, as one by one, each of his tasks take on an unexpected outcome! Will Paddington be able to fix everything in time for everyone to properly celebrate the holidays? Find out in this fun-filled holiday comedy!

Tickets starting at $17


DRAGONS LOVE TACOS
Written by Ernie Nolan
Based on the book by Adam Rubin
Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Directed by Nancy Schaeffer
Published by Penguin Group & Produced by special arrangement with Plays for Young Audiences

Jan. 23 – Feb. 20, 2022

Recommended for ages 4 and up

A boy and his dog are watching a TV show about dragons when a mind-blowing secret is revealed: Dragons love tacos! Chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, teeny tiny tacos, all kinds of tacos. So, the boy and his dog decide to throw a taco party to end all taco parties for a flock of dragons, each with their own unique style and personality. But what are the fiery consequences for eating tacos with spicy jalapeño pepper salsa? This hilarious, dance-filled journey into the field of Dragonology is equal parts ridiculous and delicious, and has all the ingredients for a fantastic time!

Tickets starting at $15


THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
Adapted by Joseph Robinette
Based on the book by C.S. Lewis
Directed by Artie Olaisen
Produced by special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois

April 3 – May 15, 2022
Recommended for ages 7 and up

One of the most celebrated books in children’s literature and the #1 most requested DCT play returns to the stage to create a remarkable world of magic. Join young adventurers Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy as they step through the not so ordinary wardrobe and into the mythical land of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Facing fantastic creatures and fierce battles in the heart and on the land, the four siblings must find the courage to battle the treacherous White Witch in order to end the deadly eternal winter in the beautiful forest. Guided by the all-knowing Lion, Aslan, these discoverers learn to cast aside their own fears to find the heroes within themselves.

Tickets starting at $15


10 Seconds
Written by Miriam Gonzales
Commissioned by Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD
Directed by Richard T. Quadri

Recommended for audiences ages 13 and up

In a world where deeply-rooted biases and misperceptions easily take hold, life can often feel unnerving – things can change for better or worse in a blink of an eye. Ray and Jimi are Washington, DC high school students who are navigating their young adult worlds and what it means to be young black men in the city. Ray tells the story of a day, and the 10 seconds inside that day, that they will never forget. We see not only their perspectives, but also those of the police they encounter. Through audience engagement and interactive moments, the play provides opportunities for reflection and discussion.

Each performance will be followed by a talkback featuring helpful subject matter resources from law enforcement and area youth groups.

Special Price: $10 per person


Special thanks to the following supporters that are helping us move toward brighter days…

Presenting the Dallas Children’s Theater 2021-2022 Season…

DCT presents…CIRCO METROPOLIS
Created by Dick Monday and Tiffany Riley
Produced by Laughter League, Inc.
Sept. 18 – Sept. 26, 2021
Recommended for ages 5 and up

Oh, how we’ve missed you! So, DCT has pulled out all the stops for our long-awaited reopening with an interactive and fun event curated by those fabulously festive clowns, Slappy and Monday, and a host of their friends. Come witness incredible performances including spectacular juggling, tap dance, high-energy drumming, animated storytelling, and of course…hilarious clowning! No matter your age, there’ll be something to put a smile on your face. Return to the incredible world of live performance with your DCT family! We can’t wait to see you!

Tickets On Sale August 18


PADDINGTON SAVES CHRISTMAS
Adapted by Doug Kmiotek
Based on the book by Michael Bond
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller

Dec. 5 – Dec. 23, 2021
Recommended for ages 4 and up

It’s holiday time in the Brown household and Paddington – the famous, accident prone bear – is here to save the day! When he and the Brown’s housekeeper, Mrs. Bird, run out of sugar for the seasonal marmalade jam they are preparing, Paddington heads next door to borrow some from Mr. Curry. Unfortunately, the usually grumpy Mr. Curry is even more short tempered than normal as he prepares for a visit from his great aunt who is a stickler for tidiness. Paddington, feeling sorry for Mr. Curry, volunteers to help him with his chores. But Paddington’s good intentions end up leading to chaos, as one by one, each of his tasks take on an unexpected outcome! Will Paddington be able to fix everything in time for everyone to properly celebrate the holidays? Find out in this fun-filled holiday comedy!

Tickets On Sale October 4


DRAGONS LOVE TACOS
Written by Ernie Nolan
Based on the book by Adam Rubin
Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Jan. 23 – Feb. 20, 2022
Published by Penguin Group & Produced by special arrangement with Plays for Young Audiences

Recommended for ages 4 and up

A boy and his dog are watching a TV show about dragons when a mind-blowing secret is revealed: Dragons love tacos! Chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, teeny tiny tacos, all kinds of tacos. So, the boy and his dog decide to throw a taco party to end all taco parties for a flock of dragons, each with their own unique style and personality. But what are the fiery consequences for eating tacos with spicy jalapeño pepper salsa? This hilarious, dance-filled journey into the field of Dragonology is equal parts ridiculous and delicious, and has all the ingredients for a fantastic time!

Tickets On Sale October 4


THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
Adapted by Joseph Robinette
Based on the book by C.S. Lewis
Produced by special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois

April 3 – May 15, 2022
Recommended for ages 7 and up

One of the most celebrated books in children’s literature and the #1 most requested DCT play returns to the stage to create a remarkable world of magic. Join young adventurers Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy as they step through the not so ordinary wardrobe and into the mythical land of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Facing fantastic creatures and fierce battles in the heart and on the land, the four siblings must find the courage to battle the treacherous White Witch in order to end the deadly eternal winter in the beautiful forest. Guided by the all-knowing Lion, Aslan, these discoverers learn to cast aside their own fears to find the heroes within themselves.

Tickets On Sale October 4


Dallas Children’s Theater continues its commitment to lifting up young voices and exploring important topics that affect us all in a safe and welcoming space. We invite you to join us for one or more of these conversations.

10 Seconds
Written by Miriam Gonzales
Commissioned by Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD

Recommended for audiences ages 13 and up

In a world where deeply-rooted biases and misperceptions easily take hold, life can often feel unnerving – things can change for better or worse in a blink of an eye. Ray and Jimi are Washington, DC high school students who are navigating their young adult worlds and what it means to be young black men in the city. Ray tells the story of a day, and the 10 seconds inside that day, that they will never forget. We see not only their perspectives, but also those of the police they encounter. Through audience engagement and interactive moments, the play provides opportunities for reflection and discussion.

Presented in partnership with
Cry Havoc Theater Company and
the Dallas Police Department

Thursday, September 23
6:30 – 8:00PM
Free with registration


10 Seconds on the stage…

April 29 – May 1, 2022
$10 per person

Tickets On Sale October 4

 

Each performance will be followed by a talkback featuring helpful subject matter resources from law enforcement and area youth groups.


This project is made possible thanks to
The Melinda and Jim Johnson Family
The MR and Evelyn Hudson Foundation
North Texas Cares
Deborah and Craig Sutton/Rasa Floors


CREDITS: CIRCO METROPOLIS logo and photos: Courtesy of Laughter League, Inc.; Luke Edmondson, Catherine Whiteman; Kelli Ramazini; Mike Williams.10 SECONDS logo and image: Courtesy of Imagination Stage. PADDINGTON SAVES CHRISTMAS images: Courtesy of Rockefeller Productions. © P&Co Ltd 2019 Licensed on behalf of Copyrights Group DRAGONS LOVE TACOS logo: Courtesy of Penguin Group. Illustration: Daniel Salmieri, from the book Dragons Love Tacos © 2010.THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE image by Linda Blase. Models (for lobby poster only): Lloyd Harvey and Morgana Shaw. All other images (c) 2021 Dallas Children’s Theater

At DCT, art is alive…inside and out!

Artist Dominic Benhura visits the site of Acrobats, a sculpture donated to DCT in 2017…

On a perfect day in June 2021, Artist Dominic Benhura came to DCT to both take in the setting for one of his works of art and to show us how to keep bringing to life the precious springstone through a unique polishing technique. This sculpture, aptly titled Acrobats, was donated to DCT in honor of the theater’s Founder and Executive Director Robyn Flatt by Jane and Bill Travis. 

DCT Donors Jane and Bill Travis in 2017 at the Dallas Arboretum where they first spotted the sculpture.

As a longtime supporter of DCT, Bill felt that the sculpture was a perfect depiction of the spirit, energy, and playfulness that DCT sparks in young people through its shows and class offerings.

Poised in front of Acrobats is artist Dominic Behura, promoter Vivienne Prince, Sculpture Donor Jane Travis and DCT Founder and Executive Director Robyn Flatt

Joined by British born promoter, Vivienne Prince, both Dominic and Vivienne appreciated the chance to see the art in its setting and getting to share with DCT friends what the piece means to them. Since COVID was still halting the normal amount of pitter patter around the sculpture at DCT, Dallas guests shared with the artists how inspiring it was to see children laughing, playing and enjoying the space before and after they see shows at DCT.

DCT staff and supporters gather on a lovely June morning to celebrate art in all of its forms.

Dominic Benhura, now 53 years old, studied sculpture since age ten under his master sculptor cousin Tapfuma Gusta. He sold his first piece professionally to architects at the age of twelve. He’s remained connected with his young self, and his pieces are frequently inspired by children, nature, and family— making his work a perfect fit for DCT! According to Dominic, “I’m from Africa where everything said about it is sad. There are so many sad things about Africa, but I realized early on that children, despite the difficulties they’re going through anywhere in the world—children are very playful, always. So when I heard that my piece was sent to a children’s theater, I was so excited that children would forever get a chance to enjoy this work!

Benhura’s work is regarded as the cutting edge of Zimbabwe sculpture with one-man exhibitions in Zimbabwe sculpture with one-man exhibitions in Zimbabwe, Australia, Belgium, Holland, Germany and America. He combines fire and wax to bring out the natural beauty in the stone. More of Benhura’s work is available for viewing at the Dallas Arboretum through August 8th. View here!

Families are the heart of Benhura’s work, and the heart of Dallas Children’s Theater. We’re getting closer and closer to reopening, and we just can’t wait to see you again! On your next visit, be sure to take a moment to enjoy Acrobats. It would mean the world to us and Dominic whose love and passion for children is very evident in his art.

See you soon!

Image credits: Lawrence Jenkins and Kristi Cardwell

Free Screening and Talkback for ages 13 and up…Join us!

April 29th at 5:30PM…
A collaboration between DCT and
DC’s Imagination Stage

Virtual Show and Talkback
Written by: Miriam Gonzales
Directed by: LeeAnét Noble
Produced by: Imagination Stage
Total running time: 90 minutes

This commissioned film screening is the result of real conversations between young people of color and police officers.

The show:
Based in Washington, DC, Imagination Stage’s 10 SECONDS explores a world where deeply rooted biases and misperceptions easily take hold. Ray and Jimi are Washington, DC high school students who navigate their young adult worlds and what it means to be young Black men in the city. Ray tells the story of a day — and “ten seconds” inside that day — that he and Jimi will never forget, sharing not only their perspectives, but also the views of the police they encounter. Through audience engagement and interactive moments, the film provides opportunities for reflection and discussion.

Background: 10 SECONDS started in 2007 with a collaboration between the Washington, DC Police Foundation, a youth-serving non-profit organization aligned with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Imagination Stage, a professional theater for youth based in Bethesda. The partnership brought together students ages 10-18 and law enforcement officers to participate in theater-based activities designed to find common ground–including practicing leadership skills, conflict resolution, and violence prevention– between the two groups and to empower the young people to develop leadership skills. The young participants, who are recruited by the MPD, are more than 96% African-American. Playwright Miriam Gonzales observed and collaborated with the youth and police officers to write the dynamic script.



The talkback:

This post-show discussion will feature a panel of incredible subject matter resources.
Facilitator, Denise Lee: DCT Social Justice Strategist and founder of Visions for Change, Inc.

Panelists:

Officer Devalon Lee-Arkansas of the Dallas Police Department’s (DPD) Community Affairs Department;

Shontay Miles-Davis, former Metropolitan Police Department (DC) officer;

Makenzie Grier, high school senior and member of the DPD Youth Leadership Council;

Playwright Miriam Gonazles;

Actor Tre’mon Mills.


Be a part: watch, listen, learn!


This project is made possible in Dallas thanks to

The Melinda and Jim Johnson Family

The MR and Evelyn Hudson Foundation

North Texas Cares

Deborah and Craig Sutton/Rasa Floors

Photo credits: courtesy of Imagination Stage, DCT staff, and courtesy of Denise Lee

A Future Leader’s Thoughts on Race…

Meet Ariya, a DCT Social Justice Youth Ambassador

We are so excited to be launching an initiative that gives young people a space to share their thoughts on race. Our goal is to encourage sharing and understanding of society’s challenges in order to foster healing and pave the way for a better tomorrow for our young people. After participating in DCT’s first Youth Chat, ten-year-old Ariya took some time to document and share his views on the very important subject of race. 

Let’s hear from Ariya…

  1. Racism exists around the world, and sadly, we cannot really stop it. I think that our skin colors should not matter so much; we shouldn’t judge each other by how we look.
  2. Slavery was a very cruel thing. The thought of having someone own you, whip you, sell you away from your family, and to even be able to kill you, is a very terrible thought.
  3. I know police hold a very important role in everyday life in society, but I don’t agree that they can abuse their power and, for no reason whatsoever, be racist and kill innocent people. It is very shocking that police officers will bully black people only because of their color.
  4. Colors don’t make people; it’s what people do for others that is remembered.
  5. The way that black people are treated is very unfair. We should all be treated equitably and fairly. We should all be treated equally as our race is all the same; human.
  6. The difference between #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter is that if people treat black people the same as white people, then #AllLivesMatter would work. We only say #BlackLivesMatter because they are treated worse, and we want to emphasize that black people do matter; not that they matter more.

To hear more from Ariya and others, watch DCT’s first Youth Chat conversation.


Be a part of the next conversation:

Thursday, April 29 at 5:30PM

Photo credits: courtesy of Ariya, Imagination Stage, and DCT staff

Theater shines even in the midst of the storm…

Dallas Children’s Theater and Literacy Achieves have had a longstanding partnership.

While our 2020-2021 season did not allow for the kiddos to come in our doors, we still sent out teaching artist Emily P. Faith to three campuses for distanced, masked and outdoor theater magic! Here’s her thoughts on these experiences…

When I agreed to be the Literacy Achieves teaching artist in August of 2020, I thought that it would be a cakewalk. So what if it was outside, distanced, masked and with a language barrier!…I am a THEATER ARTIST; I have been thoroughly trained in improvisation, resourcefulness and emotional regulation! On top of that, I have been teaching for the better part of a decade, so at this point, I have seen and done it all. How hard could it be?

Oh naïve me. There is nothing that could have prepared me for classes where I would project my voice over the sounds of a construction site, or wear shorts one day and a parka the next. I would also not be prepared for the move to virtual classes entirely when the winter storms hit in February while I was filming “Little Red Riding Hood” between power outages and no water. (Though, I do not think anything can prepare you for that.) I also was not prepared for the moments of connection, curiosity and courage that have kept me grounded in the unwavering belief that theater changes lives — even during a pandemic, even outside, even with masks on, even in a snowstorm, even, even, even.

Through DCT and Literacy Achieves, theater has inspired confidence in the child who refused to sing along with me in August until we discovered that he enjoys playing my ukulele. Now he shows up every week – even though his family moved an hour away – to sing loudly and accompany the group! Theater instilled bravery in the student who desperately held onto her mother’s leg for months and now is the one to beat in “freeze dance”. Theater has brought joy to parents faces each week as they watch their child learn another language and grow social emotional skills through singing, dancing and acting.

Teaching at DCT and the partnership that we have with Literacy Achieves during COVID-19 has reminded me that resilience can be taught with a bit of imagination, a dash of music and a whole lot of play. It is now my hope to never arrive at the place of having seen and done it all as a teaching artist. Not when the magic of theater is so transformative.


About Emily: Emily P. Faith is an actor, educator and will be graduating with her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Drama Therapy in May 2021. When Emily is not teaching for the Dallas Children’s Theater, you can find her working on drama therapy research teams, directing for her theater company, Lily & Joan, and creative consulting!

Photos courtesy of Emily Faith

Help us continue to give our gifts to children…

It really is a challenging time for the performing arts.  But we are nothing if not resilient, and with the help the people who believe in us we will see Brighter Days.

In the past few months, we’ve continued the magic through a number of unprecedented projects, both in person and virtually.  Classes continue online, and we have co-produced national productions on social justice.  Our Teen Scene Players produced THE RAVEN SOCIETY as a nod to Edgar Allen Poe, and we hosted a fun Slappy and Monday adventure via Zoom.  Just earlier this month, we held a ‘Holiday Drive-Thru’ for our families with sensory sensitivities.  And coming up this month, we have a series of interactive discussions with authors of children’s books; books that teach about service, celebrations and other cultures.

Even non-itemizers have the opportunity to deduct donations up to $300 made before the end of 2020 thanks to a CARES Act provision.

Thanks for helping us keep the magic alive!

Photos by: Karen Almond, Linda Blase, Lawrence Jenkins, and DCT staff

For Philip Schaeffer, it’s a family affair.

Folks who know DCT might recognize Philip Schaeffer, or at least recognize his parents, Nancy and Karl Schaeffer, from the halls of the theater. We interviewed the Schaeffer parents, asking what their favorite Philip/DCT memory was, and their answers did not disappoint!

The Schaeffer family (l to r) Nancy, Philip, Teri Meador (Karl’s sister), Karl and his mom, Barbara.

Young Nancy (far right) in BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER

Nancy: “Philip was a very young (too young) baby angel one of the first times we did BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER. He laid on his tummy during Silent Night (supposed to be the quiet part of the show), and he used his halo as a steering wheel and pretended to drive. I was on stage as Beth – a teen – not his mom, and I could do nothing to stop it. The audience laughed and laughed. He got the bug then.

Philip (on the bottom right) in BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER (1990-1991 season)

And then years later, when he was older, he was actually working in the Box Office for BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT and one of the Herdmen got sick during the show. I grabbed him out of the Box Office during intermission, threw a robe on him, and had him go onstage as The Wise Man who brings a ham for the Baby Jesus. He ran onstage with the ham with the robe pulled down over his face so that the audience would not notice the switch.  But when he kneeled next to the manger in prayer, one of the little lambs who knew Philip as an assistant in our summer classes, leaned over and said to him “Philip, you did that wrong!” Philip had to try to hide his shaking shoulders as he was cracking up on stage. So that was a moment when he was the one laughing at an inopportune time!”

Young Karl with a youth cast in BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER

Karl: “My favorite memory of Philip was actually captured on video. Philip was four and a half years old at the time. We did a production of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING in Feb.- Mar. of 1989. In the play, a birthday party is described, so we filmed a short birthday party scene. Philip played one of the party guests. He also must have seen the play many times.

Little brother Anthony Schaeffer as a Christmas Angel

Three months later, I videotaped Philip acting out a 14-minute version of that play. He played my part in the show and Nancy and his baby brother Anthony were drafted to play other characters. I was impressed that he remembered so many plot details and conveyed many of the emotions from the play. I’m sure growing up around Dallas Children’s Theater had a powerful influence on him and on his creativity, and I so enjoyed videotaping Philip at play.”

Young Karl with cast members in TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING


Philip Schaeffer’s latest play is streaming now on DCT Digital. Check out THE RAVEN SOCIETY starring DCT’s Teen Scene Players before it closes on Halloween night!

 

Streaming October 23-31
Ages 9 and up
Cost: As low as $10

dct.org/teen/digital

 

 

 

 

 


                                               Watch Party!

All ticket buyers will receive a link to join us Friday, October 30th at 7PM for THE RAVEN SOCIETY Watch Party, a virtual ghostly gathering hosted by the playwright, Philip Schaeffer, where we’ll watch and discuss clips from the show (recommended for ages 9 and up), talk to the cast & crew about how it was made, swap our favorite scary stories & legends (just like in summer camp!), and there may be a few other mysterious surprises around the corner (but who…and where…?). Invite your friends to this fun, interactive event, and let’s all have a spine-chilling good time!

Photos courtesy of the Schaeffer family and by Robin Sachs