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

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

 

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.

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.

Improvisation with our Theatre Actors!

Do you know what our actors love to do when they aren’t rehearsing? They play improv games, and they want to play some for you! In the spirit of shows like “Who’s Line is it Anyway?”, you’re invited to join us for games like “What are you doing?”, “Freeze” and “Bus stop!” We aren’t sure what will happen, but we guarantee you’ll laugh!

The Improv Troupe is sponsored by Yankee Restoration & Building.

$3/member, $4/visitor plus admission. For tickets call 828-1234 x231 or stop by the front desk.

May 16th at 2pm.

Click here to purchase tickets online!

Free Shakespeare Workshops for Ages 8-17

Begins today!

In preparation for our summer production Shakespeare’s Stories, we are offering ten free Shakespeare workshops for all interested young actors between the ages of eight to seventeen. This is an opportunity to learn about and experiment with Shakespeare outside a traditional rehearsal process.

Young actors will become familiar with the language of Shakespeare, as well as some of his most magical stories: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, and Macbeth. Only actors that have attended five out of ten Shakespeare Workshops at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine are eligible to be cast in our summer show.

Funding for these free workshops provided by the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust. FMI email reba@kitetails.org.

Workshop dates:

May 5, 7, 9, 12, 14 & 16

June 2, 4, 6, 9 & 11

Workshop times:

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:30-6pm

Saturdays from 9:30am-12pm

Robin Hood: Theatre Performance

Robin Hood is a slapstick romp through medieval times that you will never forget! This fresh re-telling of Robin Hood by local playwright Brent Askari is complete with archery, romance, and a whole lot of puns. Robin is an outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, but does he have what it takes to be a true leader of the people? Pop star minstrels, merry bands, and a hip hop Lil’ J put a modern twist on this classic tale that will be sure to have you laughing in your seats.

Commissioned with support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust by Maine’s premier for kids, by kids acting company at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

For advance purchases: $8/member, $9/visitor, $16/stay and play. $1 fee applies to all tickets purchased on the day of the performance. To purchase tickets call 1-800-838-3006, stop by the front desk or visit www.kitetails.org.

Click here to purchase your tickets online!

PERFORMANCES:
Friday April 17 at 4pm
Saturday, April 18 at 1pm & 4pm
Sunday, April 19 at 4pm
Wednesday, April 22 at 11am & 2pm
Thursday April 23 at 11am & 2pm
Friday April 24 at 4pm
Saturday April 25 at 1pm & 4pm
Sunday April 26 at 1pm & 4pm

Shakespeare Stage Stories

Join us for a series of Shakespeare Stage Stories for all ages, every Tuesday at 11am!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

April 3, 7 & 28; May 1 & 19; June 9 & 30: Fall in love with the poetry and a silly story from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

*Friday times for Midsummer stage stories available on our website.

The Tempest

April 14; May 5 & 26; June 16: The opening scene of The Tempest takes place on a ship at sea. Together we will act out the terrible storm that leads to a shipwreck in this magical play by William Shakespeare.

Macbeth

April 21; May 12; June 2 & 23: ‘Tis the witching hour! Act like witches and learn some lines from one of Shakespeare’s most famously haunting plays: Macbeth!

 

To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life. This grand Shakespeariment is designed for all ages, sponsored by the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust.

Free with admission.