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Background info about the stories and themes of ArtReach's plays
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Learning through Drama: Sleeping Beauty
What is a Spinning Wheel Anyway?

HISTORY OF THE SPINNING WHEEL
Who invented the spinning wheel? As with many inventions of the era, no one individual can be credited for its creation. Unfortunately, no authentic spinning wheels survive from medieval times so primary evidence comes from images and written records of the era.

The spinning wheel evolved from ancient times when spinning was done on a spindle, which is basically a stick with a stone or weight attached.

ArtReach's Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty! - Musical Children's Play from ArtReach! This Wicked Fairy is a fun roles for talented kids!
Children's Theatre Company, ON - Greenbrier Valley Youth Theatre

One day, sometime between 500 and 1,000 A. D., somewhere in China, Persia or India and (perhaps inspired by the riches to be made in the Eastern silk trade), someone turned a spindle on its side, added a pulley and connected it to a drive wheel. The spinning wheel was born.

However, the invention met strong resistance by the time it reached Western Europe in the early 13th century. Wool merchants saw it as an impairment in quality by producing thread that was lumpy and uneven.

Medieval spinners often used a distaff, (a stick with a fork or comb on the tip used to hold long-staple fibers while spinning) to hold their fibers while they were spinning with a spindle. Although time consuming and awkward, the method produced more consistently even thread.

Nevertheless, the machine was simply more economical, saving almost half the work of hand spinning and, with the later addition of a foot pedal... the spinning wheel was off and running.


The Magic Flying Carpet: Aladdin
History of the Magic Carpet

Before people would consider space shuttles or even jumbo jets, they imagined a fantastic form of aerial transport - a magic carpet or flying carpet. These fanciful floorings could levitate great loads and travel at speeds then beyond fantasy. From their beginnings in the ancient world, legends of flying carpets have traveled across millennia and continents alike.

 The Magic Carpet in ArtReach’s Aladdin
Aladdin!  School Play for Kids to Perform!
Aladdin Cast, Solano Youth Theatre, CA

Origins of the Magic Carpet

Legend has it that biblical King Solomon owned a huge magic carpet - at least large enough to bring the King's entourage along. Several hundred years later, the enchanting queen Scheherazade told her husband stories of flying carpets in Arabian Nights. Fortunately, the queen's storytelling chops ended the king's practices of summarily beheading his wives after one night.

The Flying Carpet in Western Lore

These Eastern stories have enchanted the West for centuries; flying carpets pervade our popular culture today. At the end of World War II, the United States turned its aircraft carriers and other vessels into giant floating dormitories, dispatching them to bring servicemen home from far-flung lands. The armed forces dubbed this effort "Operation Magic Carpet."

Late 60s rock band Steppenwolf rocked the chart with a far-out (and perhaps pharmaceutically aided) "Magic Carpet Ride." More recently, animated plumbers Mario and Luigi contend with rug-riding enemies in the Super Mario Bros. video games.

While the original Aladdin legend has the bandit using a rug as a getaway vehicle in ancient Baghdad, Disney's westernized Aladdin whisks his midriff-baring gal Jasmine on a carpet-borne dream date. Sadly, this is not an option for modern sorcerers on the dating scene; in the world of J.K. Rowling's teen warlock Harry Potter, the Ministry of Magic has outlawed flying carpets.


Riverview Students Perform We Are the Dream: the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Riverview Park Community School, Ottawa
By Karen McGillivray, Learning Support Teacher

Junior students in grades 4, 5 and 6 at Riverview Alternative School performed Kathryn Shultz Miller's play We Are the Dream:  The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as a dramatic culminating activity to a term long unit on heroes in our lives and as a special way of celebrating Black History Month.

"A special way of celebrating Black History Month."
ArtReach's Musical Play: We Are the Dream the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Grades 4, 5 and 6 at Riverview Alternative School performed We Are the Dream

We Are the Dream is a dramatization of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and the civil rights struggle that took place during that period in history.  The play required the students to not only take on a role but to learn words to a number of spiritual songs.  Students reenacted painful events in Martin's young life that helped him develop the resolve to make a change in the world.  They showed how Martin and his wife Coretta returned to Alabama to lift their people up.  Particularly moving scenes involved students portraying the courageous Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat and the Montgomery bus boycott that followed as well as the Freedom March on Washington when Martin gave his famous and powerful "I Have a Dream" speech.  The students enjoyed preparing props, rehearsing and performing for a live audience.  They learned a great deal from the experience and are commended for doing a great job.


History Comes Alive for School Students
Drama brings the lessons of history into your heart

History is rich in drama and intrigue – perfect for children’s theatre scripts.  World famous playwrights, from Shakespeare to Arthur Miller, have used the events of true stories as a basis for their most exciting plays.

ArtReach’s plays AMELIA EARHART, ANNIE OAKLEY and LEWIS AND CLARK are just a few examples of plays that bring history alive for young audiences.  Very popular, reaching thousands of school students throughout the country, are the Cherokee plays YOUNG CHEROKEE and TRAIL OF TEARS.  These plays bring to life the myths of the ancient tribe and tell the tragic story of their removal from their native lands.

"Plays that bring history alive for young audiences."
One Act Children's Plays - Young Cherokee
ArtReach's Young Cherokee - Western Carolina University Theatre in Education, Cullowhee, NC

ArtReach plays are well researched, fast paced, with exciting audience participation.  Many of the plays come complete with Study Guides to give teachers the resources for meaningful classroom activities that give a deeper understanding of history.

Looking for a subject for your next school tour?  Turn the pages of time and discover a world of thrilling drama!


The Story of Sadako
ArtReach’s A Thousand Cranes is based on a true story

Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl living in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan (August 6, 1945). In 1955, at age 11, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer caused by the atomic bomb.

While in the hospital, Sadako started to fold paper cranes. In Japan, there is a belief that if you folded 1000 paper cranes, then your wish would come true. Sadako spend 14 months in the hospital, folding paper cranes with whatever paper she could get. Paper was scarce so she used the paper from medicine bottles, candy wrappers, and left over gift wrap paper. Her wish was that she would get well again, and to attain peace & healing to the victims of the world.

Sadako died on October 25, 1955, she was 12 years old and had folded over 1300 paper cranes. Sadako’s friends and classmates raised money to build a memorial in honor of Sadako and other atomic bomb victims. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was completed in 1958 and has a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane. At the base is a plaque that says:

This is our cry
This is our prayer
Peace in the world

"The paper crane is often given as a wish for peace."
School Play for Children - A Thousand Cranes A Thousand Cranes - True Story of Sadako Sasaki
John C. Fremont Charter School, Merced, CA - Lansing Middle School, NY

Although Sadako died at a very young age, her legacy continues. To this day, the paper crane is probably the most recognized origami model. The paper crane is often given as a wish for peace.

Sadako's brother (Masahiro Sasaki), who is now over 70 years old, saved five of the original paper cranes folded by his sister when she was in the hospital. He hopes to donate the remaining 5 cranes to the the five continents of the world.

1990: In Seattle, Washington, USA, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Floyd Schmoe, built a life-size statue of Sadako. The statue was unveiled on August 6, 1990, 45 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. The statue is in the Seattle Peace Park and often has paper cranes draped over it. [Photo from wikipedia.com] Unfortunately, not everyone is at peace; the statue was vandalized in 2003 and again in 2012. The statue has been repaired.


Why School Plays are Vital for Education
It's vitally important -- not an option

Almost every day we hear it from one of our teachers – my school is cutting back on the arts!   Now it’s your job to tell the powers that be why you absolutely must produce a school play this year!

Creative Thinking and Useful Play!  Kids learn how to use their own imaginations to confront daily issues and learning experiences.  Learning how to perform a fictional character and how to convey ideas on stage light a kid’s mind on fire.  An exciting rehearsal will spark inspired participation in class.

Teaches Kids to Work Together!  Kids learn to take time and show patience and cooperation with their classmates and friends that may never happen in a classroom sitting at their desks.  Students read, move and think together.  Rehearsing a play invites everyone to put down their phones and really listen to and enjoy interaction with others.

"Kids learn how to use their own imaginations."
Theatre Essential for Education Kids experience theatre
Kids attend Gemini Project, Adelaide Fringe Fest, Australia

Builds Confidence!  Real confidence comes from real accomplishments.  Nothing is better for a child’s self-esteem than applause.  During rehearsal, otherwise shy kids may trigger positive reactions from fellow classmates.  Laughing, clapping, participating together helps kids find self-assurance and acceptance.

Improves Reading Skills!  Some kids are never going to sit down a read a novel.  But they will read a script because the script includes them!  Maybe a child is not clever and witty in real life, but for a moment he can be those things in front of an audience.  Suddenly they love good writing and reading.

School plays bring theatre into kids’ lives and improve their ability to learn and enjoy life.  This is not an option.  It’s vitally important to every child’s successful education.

THE WRITERS OF OZ
The story behind the creation of The Wizard of Oz

Over the years there have been hundreds of books and publications written about the magical Land of Oz, from the first Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, to contemporary novels, storybooks, comics, and television shows for today's audiences. Baum, as creator of the Oz stories, is regarded as the foremost contributor, having written the original series of 15 books published from 1900 to 1920. After Baum's death, his editor, Ruth Plumly Thompson, continued the series, writing 19 more Oz books from 1921 to 1939 and two more in the 1970s a few years before she died. After Baum and Thompson, there were numerous Oz contributors including John R. Neill (Oz illustrator), Jack Snow, and Rachel R. Cosgrove, to name a few.

L. Frank Baum

"When I was young I longed to write a great novel that should win me fame. Now that I am getting old my first book is written to amuse children. For, aside from my evident inability to do anything "great," I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-wisp which, when caught, is not worth the possession; but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one's heart and brings its own reward."
-- L. Frank Baum

Like the characters he created - Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and others - L. Frank Baum traveled a long road to reach his goals. Along the way, he encountered physical illness, bankruptcy, rejection and failure. However, like any  hero, he triumphed in the end. Today, audiences still read and enjoy his fairy tales, proving L. Frank Baum to be a master of storytelling.

"Audiences still read and enjoy his fairy tales."
Wizard of Oz for Kids to Perform Flying Monkeys in Wizard of Oz
Brookings Harbor Community Theatre, OR -  Colombo School,  Sri Lanka

Lyman Frank Baum was born to Benjamin and Cynthia Ann Stanton Baum on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York.. Benjamin Baum made his fortune in the oil business and the family enjoyed a happy existence which revolved around friends, family and church. Since birth, Frank suffered from heart trouble. Frail and sickly, he stayed close to home, receiving his education from a private tutor. Once he learned to read, he could be found in his father's study, devouring volumes by Dickens and Thackeray.

He also enjoyed fairy tales, although he found that he didn't enjoy the presence of witches and other frightful creatures that often popped up in the stories. He vowed that someday he would write fairy tales that would not frighten young readers.

For his fourteenth birthday, Frank received a small printing press. Inspired, he and his younger brother began publishing a neighborhood newspaper. The journal boasted poetry, articles, editorials and word puzzles. He also earned money by printing signs, stationery and program. When he was 17, Frank started another paper, The Empire, and a magazine for stamp collectors. As he grew into an adult, he worked at a variety of positions, including salesman, reporter, owner of a print shop, director of a chain of opera houses, and actor.

Family and friends found him charming and delightful. He loved to tell and hear stories, and some even said he himself could not distinguish reality from events he had only imagined. Practical jokes and word games also enchanted him. In 1881, Frank's charm won him the attention of Maud Gage. They were married the following year.

In the year before his marriage, Frank wrote a melodrama entitled The Maid of Arran, which became a local hit. After the wedding, Frank and Maud toured with the company for a while, then moved to Syracuse, where Frank labored as a salesman.

Although Benjamin Baum had passed his businesses and money on to his son, Frank soon found that a clerk had gambled away all of the business's capital. He continued to write, attempting to pull himself out of bankruptcy. Several years later, the Baums moved to the Dakota Territory, where yet another business dissolved in bankruptcy. In 1891, Frank moved his family to Chicago where became a buyer and a salesman. Although he traveled a great deal, he continued to write.

"Frank loved children and delighted in telling them stories."
Easy script for kids to perform. Wizard of Oz for children to perform.
ArtReach's Wizard of Oz - Scripted Drama, Currambine AU

Frank loved children and delighted in telling them stories. He would read Mother Goose rhymes to his children, who simply could not understand why a mouse would run up a clock or why a cow would jump over the moon. Frank made up his own explanations, which Maud urged him to publish. Her insistence led to Mother Goose In Prose (1897). He continued to write and publish both fiction and non-fiction. Although he published many books, Frank achieved popularity and fame because of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). The book wowed audiences with its story and its vivid illustrations. It became an instant hit, and earned the honor of best-selling book in 1900. Since the book had been so successful, Frank decided to adapt it for the stage. Oz, his musical extravaganza became immensely popular, and toured for 9 years. Frank wrote 14 more Oz books, two of which were published after his death. He also tried adapting the stories for stage and film, but had marginal success. Once again, he faced bankruptcy.

After many years of hard work, Frank grew weaker and weaker, but he continued to write, even if it was only a little each day. He stashed two manuscripts in a safe deposit box to be published if he became too ill to write.

On May 5, 1919, L. Frank Baum suffered a stroke. He died quietly the next day. He  is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Frank's oldest son, Frank Jr., and others continued the Oz legacy by writing and producing more Oz books, plays and radio shows. However, none of those mediums achieved as much success as the 1939 MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland as Dorothy. In fact, most people probably know the movie better than the book.

Students Prepare for Performance at ORRJHS
Little Mermaid is in rehearsal regardless of the weather
The Wanderer, Rochester MA, By Jean Perry

The Old Rochester Regional Junior High School has resurrected its Drama Club and is ready to show the public how hard work, dedication, and the desire to have fun simply cannot be stopped by marathon snowstorms.

The Drama Club has been learning its lines, rehearsing its moves, and finding its singing voice since January 21, despite the cancelation of a number of its scheduled rehearsals due to the weather. But the show will go on with a rendition of Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Little Mermaid, led by a group of dedicated parent volunteers who have been organizing and facilitating the production.

This production has been designed a bit differently than other school plays, said parent volunteer Beth Marsden. Multiple actors will be playing each of the roles as a way of giving everyone a chance to shine in the play.

"We were trying to make this play so that there's really no lead so that it's easier," said Marsden. "So that way all the kids could be a part of it.

"There's tons of chances for tons of involvement."
The Little Mermaid in rehearsal Parents & Students get involved
Lindsey Elementary, Chesterland OH - Old Rochester Regional Jr High VT

Altogether, there are 31 actors and 10 crewmembers responsible for make-up and lighting, among other aspects of production.

"It's fun because there really are no lead roles," said parent volunteer Casey Quirk. "So there's tons of chances for tons of involvement."

This rendition of The Little Mermaid, adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller, varies from the Disney version. For example, the names are different, although they echo of their Disney counterparts, and the story is based more on the Christian Andersen book and less on the cartoon.

At the center of the plot is Annabelle, played by Lyla Horton and Michaela Mattson, a young mermaid who is in love with a prince and would do anything to be a human. Her father, Neptune, played by both Emma Quirk and Emily Wilson, tries in vain to keep his daughter from mingling with humans, while Annabelle is pursued by the evil Odessa, played by Kate Marsden and Hannah Grace Johnson, who tricks Annabelle into giving up something precious in order to gain power over Neptune.

The Drama Club was formed again this year when the school asked some parents if they would revive the Drama Club after years of inactivity. This will help the young actors in the future, said Quirk.  "When they get to high school, they've already been introduced to drama," Quirk said. "And the kids involved in this are awesome kids who work hard and are having fun. I'll be sad when it's over."

The actors are enthusiastic and shine brightly on an underwater stage bursting with color. They are building their confidence and will really be "hamming it up" in the junior high auditorium on Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 pm during its public performance of The Little Mermaid. Tickets at the door are $10; $5 for students, seniors, and kids; and kids age four and under are free.

Newell middle school drama students excel with spring production: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Colleen Brunner, Butte County Post

NEWELL | On April 13 and 14 in Austin Auditorium, eight middle school drama students, under the direction of Meg English, brought to life the story of a spooky night and a hapless school teacher, Ichabod Crane.

In the role of Crane, Caleb McGregor, a sixth grader at Newell Middle School, played the part with flamboyance and an assured natural style. In other roles, Ian McCaskey, also a sixth grader, played the role of Brom Bones; Lacey Kenoyer played the female lead as Katrina VanTassel; Carlee Vavra played Judity; Annie Miller played Emily; Madison Miller played Charlotte and Abbie Nelson played the part of Penny and "Nails" the dog. Kai Banks lended a narrative role as Washington/Irving.

"I look forward to many years of great drama."
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Middle School Production
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Newell Middle School, CA

In two acts, the young thespians told the story of a schoolmaster who comes to Sleepy Hollow and falls in love with a young girl who ends up rebuffing him. On his way home from a Halloween party at the home of his heartthrob, Crane disappears and only his hat and a smash pumpkin are left behind.

The intensity of the supernatural atmosphere was felt as Crane hesitated on Church bridge and relished the thought of beautiful Katrina and his fascination with the tale of the Headless Horseman, said to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannon ball during the Revolutionary War.

The students in Cranes school reacted realistically to his punishment, which he doled out only to those who could handle it. The teacher, who makes extra money teaching singing lessons, also portrayed an insatiable hunger and a taste for the finer things, like Miss Katrina.

Many besides the cast were involved in the top-notch production including Ken and Noah Seieroe, who constructed the base for the stage trees, Marty Jump on piano, Heather Brown for lighting and sound, Dave Nuenke as construction consultant, and Paula Reedy as art consultant. The stage crew was made up of Noah Seieroe, William Timm, Alex Herrera Seikkula, Draven La Boucane and Kendra Wetz.

Katie Braaton and Deana Jaukauri lent a hand with set design, and Vonda Clausen did makeup. Todd Komes and Sandy Miller helped with maintenance, and Victoria Tucker created the programs.

The play, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written by Kathryn Schultz Miller and based on the story by Washington Irving, was the spring production for the middle school.

"We have many young and good thespians in the school," said English of the drama students. "I look forward to many years of great drama."

Pinocchio: Tibbits Summer Theatre, Meet the Costume Designers
Director: Charles Burr - Scenic Design: Rudy Schuepbach

COLDWATER - Tibbits Popcorn Theatre's version of "Pinocchio" will take youngsters on Pinocchio's quest to become a real boy as he tangles with tricksters and some no-good buddies in the Land of Toys.  Here are renderings of the costumes, as well as Hickory Cricket puppet and clothing artists.

Ariel Smith O'Neal: Costume Designer Tibbits 2019: Popcorn Theatre.  1st season. Favorite Productions: Blood Wedding at Pacific Lutheran University, Little Shop of Horrors at Lakewood Community Theatre.  Training: Pacific Lutheran University.  "I have always had an affinity for clothing and discovering a profession that embodies that passion has been a dream come true."

"A profession that embodies passion has been a dream come true."
Pinocchio lay for young audiences Costumes and Puppets for Pinocchio Costume Rendering for ArtReach's Pinocchio
ArtReach's Pinocchio at Tibbits Summer Theatre - Popcorn Theatre - Costumes & Puppets

Rachel Marengere: Production Stage Manager for Popcorn Theatre, Assistant Stage Manager for Mainstage Shows. Tibbits 2019.  All Productions. 1st season. Favorite Shows: Guys and Dolls and It Shoulda Been You at The Players Guild of Dearborn, Woody's Order! with The REP of Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse, Lottery Day at Goodman Theatre. Training: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Production from Point Park University.  "Thank you to my family for believing in me and encouraging me every day."

Leon Kriser: Scenic Designer - Connor Beatie: Lighting Designer - Sarah Gens: Properties.  Pinocchio is presented with the support of Tibbits sponsor Honor Credit Union.

Kids explore their creative side in FC theater program: Kid Frankenstein
MARY PIEPER, The Summit Tribune, Iowa

FOREST CITY | Forest City area children who are interested in theater have an opportunity to learn and perform close to home. 

BrickStreet Theatre, which stages productions with mostly adult actors, launched summer camps open to youth ages 6-17 in 2016.

This year BST Kids is having 21 youngsters in the play camp currently are rehearsing for the June 22-23 performance of "Kid Frankenstein."  Registration is still underway for the musical camp scheduled for July 9 through Aug. 4. Youth participating in that camp will put on a production of "High School Musical Jr." on Aug. 3-4.  All four performances at at 7 p.m. in the Forest City High School Auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door.

Stacie LaMoore, a former BrickStreet board members, was instrumental in getting BST Kids started two years ago and is again coordinating this year's camps.  Elizabeth May, a current BrickStreet board member, is the chairwoman of the organization's education committee.  She said it's unusual for a community the size of Forest City to have a children's theater program.  The goal is to expose kids to the theatrical arts and have them get comfortable with being in front of an audience before they get to middle school, according to May.

"Gives children a chance to express themselves."
Rehearsal is fun with ArtReach Plays
BrickStreet Theatre, Forest City, IA.  ArtReach's Kid Frankenstein.

Without BST Kids, "They don't have a lot of opportunities to do that," she said.  The camps also gives children a chance to express themselves and "work together to create something," she said.  BST Kids allows children to work with youth of all ages rather than just ones that are the same age as them, according to May.

"Kid Frankenstein" takes the familiar tale of a scientist who creates a monster and sets it in a modern-day middle school.  The play is funny rather than scary.  May described it as "a little kid version of 'Young Frankenstein,'" with a lot of references to the Mel Brooks film.

They learn about the basics of acting, such as character development and blocking. In addition, they explore costuming, set production and other aspects of theater.  During the musical camp the children also gain skills when learning choreography and musical scores.

Braedon Appel, 12, Fertile, is playing the lead role of Frankie Stein in "Kid Frankenstein." This is his third year in BST Kids.  "I love to act and this is a great opportunity to do it in the summer when I have time," he said.

"It's kind of cool because it's all kids."
Kids rehearse Kid Frankenstein Kid Frankenstein, ArtReach's play in rehearsal.
BrickStreet Theatre in rehearsal.  ArtReach's Kid Frankenstein.

Kate Klaassen, 10, Forest City, plays Helga, the principal's daughter, in "Kid Frankenstein."  She said the role requires her to speak with a German accent and play the violin.  She began acting in BrickStreet productions when she was in second grade.   She was in BrickStreet's "A Christmas Story," and "White Christmas," but this will be her first time in a BST Kids production.

"It's kind of cool because it's all kids," she said. "I was the only kid in 'White Christmas.'"

Like the regular BrickStreet program, BST Kids had to find various places around town for rehearsals before the BrickStreet got its own downtown building.  "It is nice now being in our own space," May said. 

The kids who are in the play camp this year are in seventh grade or younger.   "They tend to skew a little bit older" for the musical camp, May said. 

BST Kids partners with Forest City Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec includes BST Kids as part of its summer programming.   "It's exciting that Parks and Rec and BrickStreet can work together to make that happen," May said.

Registration for "High School Musical Jr." is  open through the first morning of camp on July 9.   Those interested in signing up should contact the Forest City Parks and Rec department at 641-585-4860.

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