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Kerfuffle And The Connecting Routes Project Travel By Train To Bring Theatre To Chicagoland Children


The Conductors, best enjoyed by children under 6 years old and their families, performs at Chicagoland libraries and museums this September.

Kerfuffle And The Connecting Routes Project Travel By Train To Bring Theatre To Chicagoland Children

All aboard the magic train! Where should we go? Who shall we visit? The conductors are here to get you where you need to be in this new play specifically designed for very young children by Kerfuffle.

Featuring live music and playful audience participation, The Conductors is a silly, joyful, and engaging first theatre experience for children ages 2-6 and their families. Founded by Ashley Laverty, Kerfuffle is one of three theatre companies in the United States that is devoted to creating plays exclusively for children under 6 years old, and they are proud to be producing The Conductors with The Connecting Routes Project, a new touring arts collective founded by Josh Bernaski. The Connecting Routes Project strives to unite communities across the nation through shared storytelling. Together, the two companies will present the play in four different Chicagoland communities that are connected by the Metra Rail. The cast and production team will travel on the Metra to Blue Island Public Library, Harvey Public Library District, Kenosha Public Museum, and Waukegan Public Library.

The Conductors is an original play devised by a cast of three, and directed by Ashley Laverty. Madison Hill, Shea Lee, and Samie Jo Johnson make up the cast, and they each play a variety of characters in and around a boxcar train set, designed by Mariah Bennett. Josh Bernaski serves as the stage manager and tour manager for the project.

Kerfuffle seeks to include very young people in the development of their plays, as to better understand early childhood development and the interests of the play's very young audience members. The play was originally developed in partnership with children through a free and downloadable play development kit available on Kerfuffle's website, as well as several outdoor and virtual creative drama workshops with children. Information gathered during the work with young children has been integrated into the devising process of the play, such as the characters and the train's destinations. Some destinations featured in the play include outer space, underwater, and a trip to the top of a mountain.

The Conductors will be presented outdoors and in accordance with the CDC and State of Illinois guidelines, audience members will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. Patrons who are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay home and join for an event when symptoms subside.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Conductors, best enjoyed by children under 6 years old and their families, performs September 18-29, 2021. Performances are at:

  • Blue Island Public Library (Blue Island, IL)

Saturday, September 18, 10:00am and 11:30am

  • Harvey Public Library District (Harvey, IL)

Monday, September 20, 5:30pm

  • Kenosha Public Museum (Kenosha, WI)

Wednesday, September 22, 10:00am and 3:00pm

  • Waukegan Public Library (Waukegan, IL)

Monday, September 27, 5:30pm

Tuesday, September 27, 11:00am and 2:00pm

Admission is free for all. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own blankets or chairs. Seating is first come first served, and audience members will be asked to space out at least 3 feet apart from one another and wear a mask. The play runs 45 minutes, and the cast and production team will be wearing masks. There will be an art activity before play begins, and an opportunity for children to meet the actors after the play.


Kerfuffle is an award winning midwestern theatre and dance company that is devoted to creating high quality, aesthetically pleasing and emotionally interesting performances with and for children under 6 years old. Founded by Ashley Laverty in 2015, Kerfuffle creates playful, multi-sensory theatre that tailors to the interests and needs of very young children in museums, libraries, zoos, parks, and other non traditional performance spaces. Kerfuffle is the 2020 recipient of the Zeta Phi Eta-Winifred Ward Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company Award through the American Alliance of Theatre and Education.

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