Coming this Friday to the Museum & Theatre: You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

 

Meet Charlie Brown, a self-proclaimed loser who’s never received a Valentine, never won a Little League Game, and never flown a kite. Today is a typical day in his life; from getting up in the morning and being late for school,  to seeing the cute little red haired girl at lunch but being too terrified to talk to her, and ending the day with finding happiness in the comfort of his friends.

Speaking of friends, this Peanuts Gang is just as complex as our hero! Lucy is unapologetically honest and offers advice for a price. Blanket-toting Linus is savvy and wise. Sally hops from one surprising realization to the next as if she’s jumping rope. Schroeder strives to cultivate the drive and passion of the great composers he admires. Snoopy has the power to transform worlds with his imagination. Together they’ve inspired generations of children from the original ink drawing by Charles Schultz published for the first time in 1955.

With two casts, twenty-two actors, eight songs, three theatre educators and twelve kazoos, we have thrown ourselves completely into this play since the beginning of January. Rehearsals have consisted of singing, dancing, soul searching and team building. I’m always inspired by our actor’s ability to dive into material whether it’s a light-hearted fairy-tale or a Roald Dahl comedy. In this play I was especially impressed by the shared empathy and communal knowledge of the themes. Every single one of us could relate to the ups and downs Charlie Brown experiences throughout the day, it’s what makes us human.

While Charlie Brown and his gang talk about rejection, depression and the question their existence, they also jump rope, fly kites and play baseball. In rehearsal I was constantly reminded there’s no such thing as adult problems or kid problems. We all look at the world in unique ways, we’re all deep thinkers, and we all offer a unique perspective. These songs and vignettes, in all their simplicity, remind us of the resilience inside each of us, no matter how old we are.

-Reba Short, Artistic Director

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown will be hitting the stage this Friday, February 12th and will run through February 21st. Click here to get your tickets now!

 

Welcome, Lily!

 

I am honored to be the newest member of the Education Team at the Children’s Museum and Theatre. I grew up playing and attending theatre productions here, so it’s inspiring to join the amazing group of people who make this organization truly magical.

I first became interested in museum education when I volunteered at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine during college. I realized how much children learn from the interactive exhibits and programs at the museum; it was particularly exciting to see the thousands and thousands of children who play, learn, and explore at the museum and theatre each year. I was ‘hooked’ after my summer of face-painting, story reading, and camera obscura operating.

My newfound interest in museum engagement inspired me to focus on museum studies and education classes throughout the rest of college, visit over eighty museums during my study abroad experiences in France and England, and volunteer at several art education programs for children and youth.

Most recently, I worked in a one room co-op schoolhouse and a small children’s museum, both in rural Northeast Tennessee. Teaching in a one room schoolhouse was an amazing chance to collaborate with a small number of individuals to create learning opportunities for my students and to experience our educational system in a different part of the country. Working at a children’s museum in rural Tennessee showed me that play-based, youth-centered organizations can create positive change in a community and that children are hungry to learn and explore the world around them.

When I’m not playing at the Children’s Museum and Theatre, I am usually busy organizing an art and social justice camp in Transylvania, Romania or helping to promote our new crowdfunding website that supports community development projects in Transylvanian villages. You may also find me planning farm camps for some of Maine’s youngest farmers, riding and competing my horse, or playing my violin.

Next time you and your family are at the museum and theatre, come say hello. I’m excited to meet you!

-Lily O’Brien

Now Playing at the Museum & Theatre: Santa’s Reindeer Present: The Nutcracker!

A Note from the Director:

Every year, we reindeer put on a variety show before loading up the sleigh. The stage summons our magic, surges our energy and brings us together. Vixen does card tricks. Comet tells jokes. Donner recites ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.When Dancer and Prancer are getting along, they usually do a tap routine. This year, I challenged my crew to explore something different. If we can pull a heavy sleigh, we can put on a whole play! We can use our reindeer magic to play timeless characters with our hooves and with our hearts. This year’s play? The Nutcracker! A ballet, a symphony, and now… a realistic drama, told reindeer style!

We beg you to imagine yourself in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1892, in the small workshop of a toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Not just a toymaker, Drosselmeyer is also a clock maker and a mouse catcher. On Christmas Eve, his nephew, a young prince, comes to visit. But lo and behold – before Drosselmeyer’s one good eye an evil sorcerer turns his nephew into… a NUTCRACKER! To become human again, the Nutcracker must defeat the Mouse King, travel to far off lands, and fall in love with a beautiful maiden. Impossible? Not if you find yourself in a child’s dream! Drosselmeyer the Toymaker gives the Nutcracker to a young girl named Clara, in hopes that she will help the Nutcracker complete his tasks to be human again.

Join us for this reindeer tail of magic and wonder. Only magical flying reindeer can write, dance, choreograph and stage as complex a yarn as The Nutcracker. We’ve worked hard on these weeks leading up to Christmas. Without these elves Maud, Eli and Murray taking time off from building toys, the play would never be possible. Thank you Dasher, for keeping us on track as the Stage Manager. Thank you for coming, you elves and reindeer in the audience. Happy holidays and enjoy the show!

Your Esteemed Director,

Rudy the Red

Leah as Rudolph, director of the Nutcracker!

Leah as Rudolph, director of the Nutcracker!


Interested in seeing the show? Click here, call 1-800-838-3006, or stop by the front desk during your next visit to get tickets!

Become a Part of Our Giving Tree!

Give the gift of play to a family in need this holiday season! Gifts of any amount will be added to our scholarship membership fund which provides free, one-year memberships to families that would not otherwise be able to experience the Museum & Theatre. All donations are tax-deductible. Donations of any amount are welcome and $95 funds an entire scholarship membership for one family for one year!

Make your gift in honor of a friend or family member and share the gift of play with someone special this holiday season.  We are happy to send a personalized holiday card to the recipient if you would like.

How It Works:

If you’re visiting the museum, simply remove an ornament from our giving tree and take it to the front desk to make your tax deductible donation. Then take the ornament with you and share it with a friend or family member to let them know that a donation has been made in their name! We can also mail an ornament to a recipient of your choice accompanied by a complimentary holiday card (see the Front Desk for details).

If you’d like to make a donation now, simply click here and choose the option that works best for you!

Thank You and Happy Holidays,

The Team of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

Animation4

Thank you for sharing the gift of play with families in need!

 

New Exhibit Now Open: the Be Well Center!

A visitor to our opening celebration examines slides using the video microscope!

A visitor to our opening celebration examines slides using the video microscope!

 

With the support of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine just opened our newest exhibit: the Be Well Center! This new exhibit features an Ambearlance, real medical equipment such as stethoscopes and a video microscope (with slides of real cells!), and plenty of teddy bears to rescue and make better. Here you can pretend to be a doctor, nurse, or EMT (the people who drive the ambulance and get you to the hospital!). You can use real scales and stethoscopes to give a teddy bear a check-up, and then record the info you find on the bear’s very own medical chart!

Our own Chris Sullivan, who was in charge of making the Be Well Center, said that the Be Well Center is designed to encourage kids to explore, work together, and learn to be nice to people who are hurt, sick, or have to go to the doctor. Dr. Lorraine McElwain, Associate Chief of Pediatrics at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital said that the idea is  “…to engage children and their families in their own health and wellness, and maybe make a future visit to a hospital or doctor’s office less intimidating.” She’s also hoping that maybe some of the kids who play here will grow up to be real doctors and nurses!

 

 

IMG_0067

A group of visitors works together to take care of their patient.

Here kids can act out everything from a medical emergency to a regular doctor’s visit, learning about their own bodies and the jobs of medical professionals along the way. There’s all sorts of medical stuff you can play with, like an exam table, scale, a height chart, and a movie showing what’s really happening when you move parts of your body!

 

 

 

A young 'EMT' hangs up the phone after communicating with the Ambearlance.

A young ‘EMT’ hangs up the phone after communicating with the Ambearlance.

 

As a permanent part of Our Town (right next to the farm), the Be Well Center is included with regular entrance fees. Come join in the fun!

 

ABOUT OUR SPONSOR

Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center is a non-profit organization benefiting from generous community support. From routine check-ups and immunizations, to the treatment of life-threatening illnesses and injuries, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive, family-centered healthcare for all of northern New England. With 109 beds, including 31 Level III NICU Beds and 20 Level II Continuing Care Nursery beds, it is Maine’s premier referral hospital, offering services not available elsewhere in the state.

 

 

The new exhibit.

The new exhibit.

 

 

Now Playing at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine: The Witches!

Reba as a Witch

Theatre Director, Reba Short, joining in the witchy fun!

“Oh, is my tongue blue?” Here’s what our Theatre Artistic Director and director of our production of The Witches has to say about the play… Want to see more? Get your tickets to The Witches here and for our own special interactive adaptation of the story for preschool ages, How to Spot a Witch, here!

From the Artistic Director, Reba Short:

Why would a theatre company produce The Witches anyway? The themes are dark, the images are gruesome; for goodness’ sake, there’s a chorus of witches talking about crunching children’s bones! The Grandmother in the story seems alright, but she’s smoking black cigars! How could this possibly be a children’s play? Has the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine lost all its good sense?!

 

As Theatre Artistic Director, I say not in the least! We are producing the work of Roald Dahl, hailed as one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1983, and Children’s Author of the Year from the British Book Awards in 1990. The themes in Dahl’s books are so dark, they’re funny. The witches are so terrible, they’re loveable. The plots are so preposterous, they can’t be serious, and they aren’t, at all. That’s Dahl’s magic as a storyteller. He pushes the boundaries of his make-believe world to its furthest corners, and then keeps pushing. His imagination goes to dark and wild places, and he invites the young reader with him and counts on them to know what is fantasy. Today we are asking the same of you, our audience. Join us for this wild and awful annual convention of witches and know that it’s just pretend.

My favorite part of Roald Dahl’s books are his heroes. Always unlikely, they may seem weak at first. They are usually children who use courage and cleverness to become strong. In our play, it’s a small-boy-turned-mouse that receives the call to adventure. (It would be impossible to find a smaller hero!) If the witchy plot wasn’t so awful, it wouldn’t be necessary for the boy-mouse to save the children at all. This is a story that begs the audience not to take it too seriously, but to find inspiration in the acts of courage and magical ways that the even small heroes can save the world.

Big News About the Big Draw!

Calling all doodlers! This October, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is participating in The Big Draw, an international drawing festival that celebrates drawing in all its forms. Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival  attracts  hundreds of thousands of participants from all over the world, giving everyone a chance make art and connect with their community. The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is proud to be the only official Big Draw partner in the state of Maine this year.

To celebrate, we’ve scheduled a ton of fun, interactive drawing and art workshops and classes. We’re also welcoming three fantastic guest artists to our Artists in Residence Program during The Big Draw. Look for Johanna, Faith, and Emmeline as they create interactive, large scale works of art created by YOU! Children and families are encouraged to work together to create a seascape mural with Johanna, constellation art with Faith, and art based on your favorite things with Emmeline.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other Big Draw workshops include: Draw a Song, Movement Portraits, Nature Drawing, Alphabet Art, Story Book Creations, Movement Portraits and More.

For details on all of our special programs and workshops, check out our calendar of events all through October to go with the Big Draw!

If you miss the workshops and programs, visit us on November 6 for First Friday and view the finished projects during a special Museum & Theatre Big Draw gallery show. Museum admission is just $2 from 5-8pm on First Friday.

Our Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report Is Now Online!

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine annual report for fiscal year 2015 is here. Thank you to all of our donors, business members, sponsors, members, volunteers, and visitors for making this one of our best years yet!

Click here to download a pdf copy from our website.

Thanks to All at Our 10th Annual Golf Tournament!

On Monday, September 21st we held our tenth annual golf tournament, and it was the best one yet! We had the generous support of 20 sponsors, 71 golfers, and more than 50 donors of auction, prize, and snack items. With their help, we raised over $17,000 to support the Museum & Theatre’s interactive exhibits, educational programming, theatre productions and general operations!

Hunter Panels has sponsored our golf tournament for 10 years!

Hunter Panels has sponsored our golf tournament for 10 years!

 

 

 

We’d like to give a special thank you to our Platinum Event Sponsor, Hunter Panels, who have sponsored our golf tournament every single year. Thanks again for all of your support!

 

 

 

 

The red-tailed hawk spotted during the tournament.

The red-tailed hawk spotted during the tournament.

 

 

 

The event was held over at Nonesuch River Golf Club in Scarborough, Maine, where the weather was perfect for a day on the course. Their beautiful facility is a great spot to get away, full of lovely views, and lots of wildlife. Some golfers were even lucky enough to spot a red-tailed hawk near Holes 4 and 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10th Annual Golf Tournament winners!

The 10th Annual Golf Tournament winners!

The competition was fierce this year, with the winners decided by their tie-breaking performance on Hole 3. This year’s winners were:

1st Place: Drew Gilman, Mike Wilson, Chris Lynch, and Jeff Berman, the team from Cragmoor Capital.

2nd Place: Jim Whitton, Mark Pietras, Phil Kent, and Mark Murphy, one of the teams from Hunter Panels.

3rd Place: Bill Becker, Matt Stringer, and Todd Zukowski, the team from Key Bank. Congratulations to all our winners!

 

 

 

 

Matt Dana making the 30ft putt that qualified him as our sole finalist!

Matt Dana making the 30ft putt that qualified him as our sole finalist!

 

Matt Dana was the finalist in our putting contest, and Evan Lank was the winner of the closest-to-pin contest. Thanks again to all of our golfers! We hope to see you again at next year’s tournament.

 

 

 

 

For the full album of photos from this year’s event, please visit our facebook page.

What’s Happening, Honey Bees?

If you make your way to the second floor of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, you’ll find a one of our most dynamic exhibits: our real, live, honeybee hive! With glass walls and a special entrance & exit to the outside world just for bees, it’s easy to spend hours just watching as the bees go about their busy day.

 

Recently, you may have seen a crowd of honey bees gathering around their special entrance. There are two reasons they might do this.

 

Our intern Tym holding up a piece of honeycomb.

Our intern Tym holding up a piece of honeycomb.

The first is called “bearding”, because the cluster of bees on the outside makes it look like their hive has a beard! Bees do this to try          and lower the temperature inside their hive. They even flap their wings to act like fans!

 

The second reason bees gather outside their hive is because they’re preparing to “swarm”. When the hive gets cramped, the queen      bee lays some eggs that will grow into other queens. Because each hive can only have one queen, the old queen takes about half of            the worker bees and flies away to find a new place to live, leaving her daughter as the new queen bee.

 

The group of bees that leaves is called a swarm. The new swarm gathers on the outside of the hive, making a giant mass of bees! No  need to worry about getting stung; to make sure they don’t get hungry on the journey, swarming bees eat lots of honey. Their full  bellies make them so happy, they rarely, if ever, sting during this process!

The beekeeper looking for the queen bee, to make sure she stays with us!

The beekeeper looking for the queen bee, to make sure she stays with us!

 

Twice this year, our bees have started to swarm. We had a lot of days where our window was covered in thousands of bees!

To make sure they found a good home, we took them to the Audobon Society, where our beekeeper split the hive in half. She took a new queen and some bees to a new home and we got the other half back with our current queen.

The second time this happened was last week. Now our hive has lots of space for new bees! Even with so many fewer bees to hide amongst, our queen bee is really hard to spot. If you see her, let us know!

 

Next time you’re at the Museum & Theatre, make sure to stop by the hive on the second floor! We’re sure you’ll agree it’s the bees’ knees.