Thursday, November 16, 2017

New Children's Theater Plays to Debut

Providence Children’s Museum holds its premiere weekend of two children’s theater pieces, “Lost & Found” and “That’s My Ball”, written by community contracted Playwrights and debuting on Friday, November 17, 2017 during our “MetLife Family Friday- Free at Five” from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. “That’s My Ball” premieres at 6:00 PM and “Lost & Found” at 7:00 PM. The Museum is open free to the public from 5:00 – 8:00 PM.
The new children’s theater pieces will continue to be performed on an alternating schedule on both Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19, 2017 with four performances each day at 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM. These newly commissioned performances serve as an extension of the important messages incorporated in the Museum’s exhibit, Coming to Rhode Island, which explores history, culture, and the importance of fostering respect for the diversity of individuals who make up our world. These exciting theater pieces have been made possible with support from Hasbro’s Children’s Fund and Nancy Smith Worthen in memory of Margaret L. Worthen.
Currently, the Museum alternates between two plays: "After the Beanstalk" and "No Time to Waste". "After the Beanstalk" was created by the 2012 - 2013 MuseumCorps team shortly after the Museum's exhibit, ThinkSpace, had opened. The play was created to emulate spatial thinking strategies for children and it was our first theater piece created by Museum staff. MuseumCorps member, Francesca Montanile, detailed the play in a previous blog post:
"The 20-minute performance tells the story of Jack, who is kidnapped and taken to Cloud Town after breaking the Giant's crown. His sister Jill enlists the audience to help rescue him. In Cloud Town, they tackle a series of spatial thinking challenges to escape. In the end, they must meet the Giant face to face!... The play is a joy to perform because the energy kids create is infectious. Their tendencies to speak aloud, get the 'wiggles', and experience the story in real time might be a challenge in a conventional theater setting but become assets as they transform into our play's heroes."

2012 - 2013 MuseumCorps members Francesca Montanile (left) and Jack Read (right) perform their ThinkSpace-inspired children's theater piece "After the Beanstalk".

The Museum's first children's theater play, "No Time to Waste" was created by a community theater group, City Stage Company. It was introduced to Museum guests in 2002 to accompany a recycling-themed exhibit that used to exist where Iway is currently located. Since then, it has been performed regularly by Museum staff, MuseumCorps members, and several local actors, including Bill Oakes, whom was originally involved in its inception. Due to the important messages of recycling and reusing that are so prevalent in "No Time to Waste", the Museum continues its performance even though the exhibit responsible for its inspiration is no longer here.

2016 - 2017 MuseumCorps members James McWilliams (left) and Jordan Lome (right) perform the Museum's oldest play "No Time to Waste".

In August 2017, Providence Children’s Museum presented the opportunity to playwrights in the community to develop one children’s theater piece focused on empathy and respect for others. Upon review, two theater scripts stood out amidst the many submissions due to their powerful messages and ability to speak to preschool or school-age audiences. 
  • The Children’s Museum’s very own Kate Lester was selected and her playful and thoughtful theater piece, “That’s My Ball”, explores concepts of sharing and inclusivity appropriate for children 3 to 5 years of age. Kate Lester is currently a Providence Children’s Museum Experience Coordinator as well as a professional actor, director and playwright. She is also a member of Talk Works, an anti-bullying ensemble that tours RI for school performances. 
  • Paul Taylor, the Traveling Science Show and Community Outreach Manager at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA has developed “Lost & Found”, a play that dialogues concepts of self-discovery and empathic intelligence relatable to children of 5 to 7 years of age. Paul Taylor has written and performed in shows for museums and zoos, bringing the work and concepts of scientists to life.
Top: Bank of America volunteers pose next to the backdrop they helped craft for the Museum's newest children's theater plays. Bottom: Contracted Playwright's, Paul Taylor (left) and Kate Lester (right) discuss content with 2017 - 2018 MuseumCorps member Mariel Mastrostefano.
For questions and more information on programming and performances visit, call (401) 273-5437 ext. 234 or contact