WHAT IF… Portland Had Its Own Superhero Team?

A team made of those who will fight crime, protect the city, and rescue people in distress? Little do most know, deep down in the Theatre of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a secret lair where heroes are made…

INTRODUCING:

…Where you can become the hero Portland deserves!  Start by choosing a superpower, then an outfit to match. Select powerful objects and animal helpers to aid in your quest. Solve problems on stage to save the city from disaster! If you’re more gadget-minded, take a seat in the sound cave and follow along with the action by providing epic sound effects.

Will you take on the forces threatening our waters?

Action! HQ was dreamt up in the summer of 2018, inspired by the power of children to solve problems and take action in their own communities and the widespread, age-defying popularity of superhero stories. We aim to celebrate that and empower more young people by giving them a chance to make their own heroic persona and try their hand at fighting for the forces of good.  This newly opened exhibit has already proven itself as a center of super imagination!

Our Theatre has always been a wonderfully creative play space. For this addition, we dug deep into what makes our Theatre so fun and engaging, and enhanced those elements. The popular soundboard now has Foley sounds such as coconut shells and instruments as well as electronic noises, dress up now includes wacky and unique props, and the stage features a puppet theatre that doubles as a set piece!

Will you take on the power of flight?

It has been a truly fulfilling experience to watch our young visitors don a cape and mask and act out their stories on stage. I’ve seen heroes fighting dragons, mediating between squabbling animals, and covering a dull, bland city in a blanket of sparkles. I can’t even make these things up myself. So although the above comic books are not real, all are invited to come and make their own stories. The virtue, and the creativity, knows no bounds.

-Terra Fletcher, Exhibits Assistant

Terra answers the call of a city in distress!

Help Us Warm Hearts Through the Gift of Warm Hands!

We’re doing a Mitten Drive this Holiday Season!

As a Museum & Theatre educator, I am lucky enough to paint, sing, act out stories, explore live creatures, and make new friends with thousands of little ones each year. While it may seem like running over 500 Tide Pool Touch Tank programs each year would be rather repetitive, each and every time I go to the touch tank, roll up my sleeves, and plop my hands into the chilly water, the new faces and our repeat customers make the experience a new, magical “pop up” community of learners, listeners, and sharers. It’s something I’ve grown to treasure.

This year, some of my favorite interactions have not just been during our programming; instead, they have been more personal, one-on-one conversations related to our Mitten Drive. In an effort to spread the spirit of giving, the Museum & Theatre is asking our community to help us collect 150 mittens (or gloves!) for children experiencing homelessness this winter. At first, it seemed like a simple enough task: Ask people to give mittens. Receive mittens. Give Mittens to friends in need. However, this project has become much more.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in awe of the conversations I’ve overheard in our lobby by our Mitten Drive collection basket. I’ve heard young mothers explain to their children that they are giving mittens so that other children can stay warm this winter and watched as the children quietly soaked in that feeling of giving. I’ve watched grandmothers come in with hand-knit mittens with carefully spelled out instructions to wash in cold water—how magical to treat a person who you’ve never met with such care. I’ve watched an older child take off her own mittens, leave them in the collection basket, and walk out into the cold, her hands pushed deep into her pockets, but her shoulders and head held high from that feeling of making a difference, no matter how small.  

If you’d like to share in the giving, please consider bringing new or gently used mittens the next time you come to play or if you’re passing by our 142 Free Street location during your downtown holiday adventures. We appreciate all you give to your community.

Happy Holidays from the Museum & Theatre!

-Lily

Museum & Theatre Educator 

Lily, during one of her ‘Tiny Tunes’ programs this fall.

Come Have a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with Us!

Our actors are having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Watch the video to find out why (and then read below for info on how to see the show)! 

We’re staging a punky musical version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day! Performances will run between Christmas and New Years Eve, December 26-30, with encore performances the first weekend of January. Tickets are $10. (Museum & Theatre members get a 10% discount!)


Poor Alexander. He wakes up with gum in his hair, he trips over his skateboard, and his sweater falls in the sink– all before breakfast! He can tell it is going to be a horrible day. So horrible, in fact, that he dreams of moving to Australia.

“Everyone has had a day like this! This play gives us a chance to truly commiserate!” said Reba Askari, the Director of Theatre & Education. “This story has hidden gems- opportunities for parents and children to talk about social emotional issues and to empathize with others. Alexander deals with so many moods and emotions, from envy and jealousy to accepting one’s mistakes. I hope that the play will serve to entertain our audiences, as well as open up the door for some good dialogue.”

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz, was first published in 1972 (some may remember it as a Reading Rainbow book!). This special musical version of the story was created by Viorst and the Kennedy Center, with Charles Strouse and Shelly Markham composing the music. The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s production of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is produced with permission from Dramatic Publishing of Woodstock, IL.

Museum & Theatre productions are staged “for kids, by kids.” The ensemble consists of 14 young Maine actors between the ages of 8 and 15 from the Greater Portland area. Playing the title role of Alexander is Oliver Hettenbach of Portland. Providing musical accompaniment is local actor and musician Megan Tripaldi. The theatre space is intimate and great for young audiences. Tickets are $10 (members of the Museum & Theatre receive a 10% discount). For a full performance schedule, visit our theatre page.

The Museum & Theatre will hold a special opening night performance and party on Wednesday December 26, 4pm-6pm. Tickets to opening night are $18 per person and include a ticket to an after-party to celebrate with the cast and crew and enjoy refreshments.


Performance Info:

Shows will run between December 26, 2018-January 6, 2019.  Tickets are generally $10 (members receive a 10% discount)

Click the showtimes below to buy tickets:

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine offers theatre productions, weekly educational programming and a safe, fun place for children and families to play in downtown Portland, Maine. More information can be found at our website.

The Future Home of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine!

The Museum & Theatre will be building a new home at Thompson’s Point!

This state-of-the-art 30,000 ft2 complex will feature innovative and interactive exhibits, a 100-seat children’s theatre, outdoor play areas, community greenspace, expanded parking and enhanced access for visitors of all abilities.

The reimagined Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine will serve as both a community hub and an educational resource to support not only children but parents and caregivers, as well. Utilizing an educational framework based upon play, family, and inclusivity, the Museum & Theatre will continue to focus on four key content areas: early Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) learning; multicultural; arts; and early childhood education.

The Museum & Theatre will remain open at its current location (142 Free St.) in downtown Portland until construction at Thompson’s Point is completed. Check back to see updates on our progress!

To learn more about how you can support this exciting project, contact Rose Splint, Capital Campaign Manager, at rose@kitetails.org or (207) 828-1234 x221.

Our Project in the News:

November 2018
Maine Biz

March 2018
Maine Biz

November 2017
Portland Press Herald

2018 Auction Photos

Thank you to all of our wonderful auction sponsors, donors, and attendees! This year’s auction was amazing. Take a look..maybe you’ll spot someone you know, or even yourself! 

Photos courtesy of www.robertakersphotography.com and James Hardman Photography/@jhardman87.

 

Special Guest & Honoree: Long-time Museum & Theatre friend Maddy Corson

Exclusive Beverage Sponsor: Coffee By Design

Gold Sponsors: Gorham Savings Bank, MEMIC, Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Silver Sponsors: Benchmark Residential and Investment Real Estate, Cross Insurance, Ducas Construction, Hands On! Studio, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, New England Cancer Specialists, Pro Search, Inc., Southern Maine Pediatric Dentistry, Zachau Construction

Bronze Sponsors: Baker Newman Noyes, Bruner/Cott & Associates, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists of Maine Medical Center, Fidelity Investments, F.W. Webb, Gebhardt Property Management, Industrial Roofing Companies, LandVest, Pine State Services, Seabee Electric

Thank you to our auctioneer: John Bottero of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Musical Entertainment: MAMMoth Brass Band

Bar Sponsors: Allagash Brewing Company, Maine Beer Company, Maine Mead Works, Spindrift, Stroudwater Distillery, Zonin

Dessert Sponsors: Bernie’s Foreside, Urban Sugar

Gift Bag donors: Allagash Brewing Company, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, L.L. Bean, Inc., Rainbow Toys, Saco & Biddeford Savings, Shipyard Brewing Company, Southern Maine Pediatric Dentistry

In-Kind Sponsors: Burr Signs, Robert Akers Photography, Transformit, Unified Parking Partners

Vendors: AV Technik, LLC, The Bread & Butter Catering Co., Brick South, One Stop Event Rentals, Moonlighting Production Services

Food Courtyard Options: Brûlée Bike, Highroller Lobster Co., Mr. Tuna, Rock n Roll Hot Dogs

 

 

Jacob’s Penguins

 

A community art project in loving memory of Jacob Thompson

If you’ve been to the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine recently, you may have noticed our collaborative art gallery hung along our stairwell walls. As you head up to our second floor, you’re greeted by a giant 4-foot penguin sculpture, which has a very special meaning behind it.

This piece of art was created with over 500 cards received by 9-year-old Jacob Thompson, who upon receiving news of his terminal illness, requested Christmas cards from the community. This request was met with overwhelming support from around the world, receiving 300,000 individual cards and another 300,000 homemade cards sent in from schools, communities, church groups, sports teams, and other groups. Many of the cards featured Jacob’s favorite animal: penguins.

The collaborative art piece, Live Like a Penguin, can be viewed at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine during normal business hours through May. The Museum & Theatre has additional cards received by Jacob and is hoping to create more penguin collages in the future. Keep an eye on our events calendar if you’d like to be a part this meaningful community art project.

About the Artwork
Title: Live Like a Penguin
In Loving Memory of Jacob Thompson
Artist: 100 Museum & Theatre visitors
“Jacob Thompson fought a courageous battle with neuroblastoma for four years and in Fall 2017, he made the simple request for the community to help him celebrate Christmas by sending cards. Thousands of complete strangers sent Christmas cards to Jacob at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. Jacob loved penguins. Jacob and his family were inspired to “Live Like a Penguin,” meaning, “be friendly, stand by each other, go the extra mile, jump into life, and be cool.” We hope this piece inspires you to learn more about neuroblastoma, help a penguin rescue group, or simply give someone you love a big, penguin hug.”
Materials: A small portion of the Christmas cards sent to Jacob at Maine Medical Center, tempera paint, cardboard, glue

In the News
You can read more about Jacob and his family’s story through the following links:

A Letter to Our Members

Dear Museum & Theatre Members,

Your membership means the world to us. You join us on Members’ Mondays and throughout the year, and when you arrive your children smile, remember our names, and ask for a hand stamp – and this brings joy to us all. You not only support us through your repeated visits and financial support, you also are our ambassadors to the community. We value your input and take your feedback to heart in upgrading exhibits and introducing new programs. You bring friends and family and tell your cities and towns about our unique organization. You make the Museum & Theatre a richer, more vibrant community resource!

I am so excited to share with you more news about our upcoming adventure. In December, the Museum & Theatre purchased 1.12 acres of land at Thompson’s Point as the location for our future home. We expect to open the doors of the new Museum & Theatre in fall of 2019.

The future building will take time to build, and before we build the foundation, we will first pre-load the site to prepare it. As you drive or walk by Thompson’s point, you will soon see a construction fence and a very large pile of dirt. The dirt will sit on our new lot for several months, slowly compressing the soil and creating a perfect spot on which to build our future home.

While construction is underway, we plan to remain open at the 142 Free Street location through summer of 2019. You might have questions about how this move could impact your membership. Please rest assured that we are keeping current exhibits and programs at 142 Free Street vital, exciting, and updated. Your membership will provide a full year of play and learning, and member benefits will travel to our future home when we move. As you visit over the next year, keep an eye out for fun changes to the Car Shop exhibit, and (especially for those with older kids!) look for upgrades to the Lights, Camera, Color: Camera Obscura exhibit. The Playscape has returned to the first floor and will remain until we move. We will be exploring early morning hours on Tuesday mornings from 9-10 this spring to better suit the needs of younger audiences. Our daily activities and celebrations continue to grow; check out our expanded camp options for ages 4-8 (with day-long experiences this summer!).

When we move to Thompson’s Point, our future home will offer wonderful benefits to members, including:

  • a brand new building (30,000 square feet)
  • 100 seat theatre designed for family audiences
  • exhibits designed to expand our age range to 1-14
  • an entire STEM floor with dynamic water, air & ramp ball, and color & light exhibits
  • aquatic exhibits showcasing Maine’s diverse ecosystem and multiple touch tanks
  • a climbing structure for all ages including a toddler crawl-through and a slide
  • a dedicated nursing space and a family bathroom
  • dedicated pay-to-park parking for visitors
  • an expanded infant and toddler space
  • a brand new fire truck
  • ADA designed exhibits and building with increased accessibility for all needs and abilities
  • an increasingly diverse visitor base and grow initiatives such as scholarships and programs for families with special needs
  • opening celebrations for current members

Thank you to our incredible members for your loyalty and excitement during this period of transition. We sincerely appreciate your support, and we are delighted that you are joining us on this journey!

Sincerely,

 

 

Lucia Stancioff, Deputy Director
Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine
(207) 828-1234 ext. 225
www.kitetails.org

Summer Camp:
 
In the News:
 
Browse Membership Options:

Canned Cat Food Drive to Benefit ARLGP!

Click here to download a flyer to help spread the word!

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is partnering with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. Help us reach our goal of collecting 800 cans to feed the shelter cats for a whole month!

Please bring your can donations to the Museum & Theatre, located at 142 Free Street in downtown Portland, through the month of April. A drop off location is designated at the Front Desk.

While you’re at it…

Check out a production of Puss in Boots, performed by young actors running April 12-28. Click here for info or to purchase tickets!

Or…

Meet a live at our Story of a Cat programming on Saturday afternoons through April 14.

See Feline Friends Up Close and Personal as Puss in Boots Takes the Stage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2018

Contact: Sandy Boyce, (207) 828-1234 ext. 222, sandy@kitetails.org

SEE FELINE FRIENDS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL AS PUSS IN BOOTS TAKES THE STAGE

 Portland, ME – Join the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine in a lively adventure of Puss in Boots, inspired by feline friends at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARLGP)! The two organizations have teamed up to offer special pet adoption programming and a canned cat food drive, culminating in a final performance at ARLGP’s shelter. Puss in Boots runs April 12th-28th. Show times include April 12, 24, and 27at 4pm, April 13-15 at 1pm and 4pm, April 18-19 at 11am and 2pm, April 20 and 22 at 1pm and 4pm, and a special performance at ARLGP on April 28 at 5:30pm. Tickets are $10.

Puss in Boots, adapted for the Museum & Theatre’s stage by playwright Brent Askari, tells the story of a not-so-ordinary cat who promises to help his human earn a better life in exchange for a nice pair of boots. The ultimate trickster, Puss in Boots uses his wits and bravery to turn a down-on-his-luck kid into the famous Count of Carabas! Complete with dancing shoes, crazy siblings, and a very ogre sing-along, this is a show you don’t want to miss! Based on the fairy tales by Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Charles Perrault and directed by Reba Short.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine and to welcome their production of Puss in Boots to the ARLGP,” said Jeana Roth, Director of Community Engagement at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. “This fun and engaging performance is sure to be the cat’s meow for our ARLGP friends and adopters.”

“This partnership fosters empathy and empowers youth to create social change,” says Reba Short, Director of Theatre and Education at the Museum & Theatre. “It’s important to offer children opportunities to develop these traits, and we are delighted to present this play.”

In addition to the show, ARLGP and the Museum & Theatre have teamed up to help adult cats find new, loving homes in special Saturday afternoon programming titled ‘Story of a Cat.’ This program, running through April 14th, offers an opportunity to meet cats and create feline-inspired artwork and stories. During this time and throughout the month of April, the Museum & Theatre will also be collecting canned cat food for cats in need, which will be donated to ARLGP. By collecting 800 cans of cat food, shelter cats will be fed for an entire month. Cans can be dropped off at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

The production of Puss in Boots is sponsored by Taproot. Programming and production support is made possible by generous support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust.

Museum & Theatre productions are staged “by kids, for kids.” The theatre is intimate and comfortable, and the Museum & Theatre welcomes first-time audience members. Performances usually last about one hour with no intermission. Tickets are $10 (members receive a 10% discount) and are available at the front desk and online at www.kitetails.org. For a full performance schedule, visit www.kitetails.org.

LISTING INFORMATION

WHO: Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

WHAT: Puss in Boots, adapted for the Museum & Theatre’s stage by playwright Brent Askari, based on fairy tales by Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Charles Perrault, directed by Reba Short

WHERE: 142 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101

WHEN:  April 12 – 28, 2018

PERFORMANCES:

  • Thursday, April 12, 4pm Opening Night ($18)
  • Friday, April 13, 1pm & 4pm
  • Saturday, April 14, 1pm & 4pm
  • Sunday, April 15, 1pm & 4pm
  • Wednesday, April 18, 11am & 2pm
  • Thursday, April 19, 11am & 2pm
  • Friday, April 20, 1pm & 4pm
  • Saturday, April 21, 4pm
  • Sunday, April 22, 1pm & 4pm
  • Friday, April 27, 4pm

Saturday, April 28, 5:30pm: Special performance at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

Opening Night Gala + Performance: Thursday, April 12, 4pm, $18/person

Final Performance at ARLGP: Saturday, April 28, 5:30pm, $10/person, 217 Landing Road, Westbrook, Maine 04092

TICKETS: $10/ticket (Museum & Theatre members receive a 10% discount), available at the front desk or online at www.kitetails.org

PRESS CONTACT:  Sandy Boyce, sandy@kitetails.org; (207) 828-1234 ext. 222.

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine offers theatre productions and programs, weekly educational programming and a safe, fun place for children and families to play in downtown Portland, Maine. The Museum & Theatre’s 20+ exhibits, 100+ free weekly educational programs, five annual mainstage theatre productions and dozens of outreach opportunities are best enjoyed by children ages six months to 10 years old.

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Show Your Love to the Museum & Theatre this Season!

Show your love now through February 16th, 2018! We have hanging hearts behind our front desk in the amounts of $1-$100. Simply pick a heart and donate that amount to the Museum & Theatre’s Annual Fund. All hearts include a prize! If all 100 hearts are removed, we’ll raise over $5,000, all with donations $100 or under. These donations help continue the meaningful work we do in our community.

Big Prizes Include:

  • Flippin’ Awesome Birthday Party from Get Air ($270-$290 value)
  • Complete Miniature Hockey Set ($50 value)
  • Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine gift bag with drinking glasses and FREE admission passes

Download a flyer here to help spread the word!