CLIMB Theatre Launches New Children's Theatre Podcast FARAWAY WOODS
Kids across the country can now travel to Faraway Woods, a world of delightful characters and interactive stories, thanks to the release of a new podcast by award-winning CLIMB Theatre.
CLIMB, based out of St. Paul, MN, created Faraway Woods for children ages 4-9 to help them exercise their creativity and develop pro-social skills. The podcast features professional actors playing fantasy creatures like the Whimple Snivel and Pladapellaphant, as well as Sticky Wicky, a resourceful spider, and Mrs. M, a warm wallaby woman. The project is funded in part through an Arts Learning grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
"This is unlike any project we've done before," said Peg Wetli, CLIMB's Executive Director. "Typically, theatres are limited in the audiences they can reach due to geography. Podcasting is a new technology that lets us create innovative, interactive programs that can be easily delivered to children around the world."
Children listening to episodes of Faraway Woods not only hear the audio plays, they participate in them physically and imaginatively.
"We worked physical movement into the podcasts to engage kids on multiple levels," said Wetli. "They jump into Mrs. M's tummy pocket and hop far and wide. They run from lions and harmlessly tumble out of helicopters that are about to crash. The ever-new adventures completely engage and captivate little listeners." Further involvement is stimulated through self-guided games and activities parents and teachers can do with their children after listening.
"We've received lots of positive feedback about the interactive nature of the podcast in our pilot program to children in Minnesota," said Wetli. "By making episodes interactive, Faraway Woods allows us to provide creative learning for mind and body using only audio."
Episodes of Faraway Woods are available to the public for free on CLIMB Theatre's project website, FarawayWoods.org, and via iTunes and Stitcher. The first season, which launched on March 15, will consist of 14 interactive episodes.
CLIMB Theatre is one of the largest touring children's theatres in the country and is a recipient of the Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award for Artistic Excellence from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.
CLIMB's mission is to create and perform plays, classes, and other works that inspire and propel people, especially young people, toward actions that benefit themselves, each other, and their communities. Each year, CLIMB brings plays and classes to more than 400 schools throughout MN, IA, ND, SD, IL, and WI, reaching approximately 200,000 students. CLIMB is the 2014 winner of the Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiatives from the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits. In 2009, CLIMB was awarded the prestigious Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award from the national association AATE, which promotes standards of excellence in theatre and theatre education.