Kerfuffle Brings Theatre For The Very Young To Chicago Parks This Summer!

Goose and Gert, best enjoyed by children under 6 years old and their families, performs July 10-26, 2021.

By: Jun. 25, 2021
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HONK HONK! Attention toddlers! Goose is here, and she is excited to share that Kerfuffle is bringing the fun to the parks this summer!

Goose and Gert is a playful, silly, and whimsical play geared specifically towards children ages 2-6 years old that explores friendship, opposites, and noise. Founded by Ashley Laverty in 2015, 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 Goose and Gert in six different Chicago parks this July as a part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks. Goose and Gert is a featured event in this year's new early childhood series.

In Goose and Gert, Gert is looking for some peace and quiet. Goose just wants a friend. Created for very young children, the nonverbal play features live music, found object puppetry, and is sure to engage audiences through its physical storytelling and surprises sprinkled throughout.

The play is written and directed by Ashley Laverty, the founding Artistic Director of Kerfuffle. The play was originally developed in partnership with The Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska in 2019. 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. Goose and Gert was developed in direct partnership with preschoolers at a creative drama summer camp at the Rose, and the information gathered during the work with young children was integrated into the play. Together, Kerfuffle and the Rose co-produced a workshop production in three parks in Omaha throughout June 2019.

The Chicago production is a reimagining of the original production, as it features new actors and new music. Additionally, the play explores themes of isolation and how to connect and make friends in a post-pandemic world. Alexis Willis, as Gert, plays bamboo flutes as she imagines a serene afternoon in the park, while Shea Lee, portraying a vivacious Canadian Goose, continues to interrupt the peace and quiet! Sophia Vitello accompanies the play with guitar, ukulele, kazoo, and other noise-makers.

Goose and Gert is presented as part of the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor's Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Now in its 9th year, the 2021 Night Out in the Parks program presents cultural events year-round in neighborhood parks throughout the city. The Chicago Park District in partnership with over 100 local artists and organizations, present engaging events and performances that enhance quality of life across Chicago and amplify the artistic and cultural vibrancy in every neighborhood. Through multiple disciplines, which include theater, music, movies, dance, site-specific work, nature programs, and community festivals, the series aims to support Chicago-based artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement, and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans. To further extend the reach of these cultural, arts and nature experiences, the Chicago Park District has mounted a virtual platform to spotlight the diversity of Chicago's artistic offerings and provide equitable access to some of these performances for all Chicagoans and visitors alike. For more information about the Chicago Park District's Night Out in the Parks, visit www.nightoutintheparks.

Additionally, Goose and Gert is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Goose and Gert, best enjoyed by children under 6 years old and their families, performs July 10-26, 2021. Performances are at:

  • West Ridge Nature Preserve's Play Space (5801 N Western Ave, 60659)

    • Saturday July 10 at 11:00am and 1:00pm
    • Sunday July 11 at 11:00am and 1:00pm
    • Friday, July 16 at 2:00pm and 4:00pm
  • Berger Park (6205 N Sheridan Rd, 60660)
    • Saturday July 17 at 11:00am and 1:00pm
  • Nichols Park (1355 E 53rd St, 60615)

    • Monday July 19 at 10:00am and 12:00pm

  • West Pullman Park (401 W 123rd St, 60628)

    • Friday July 23 at 2:00pm and 4:00pm

  • Bauler Playlot Park (501 W. Wisconsin St, 60614)

    • Saturday July 24 at 11:00am and 1:00pm

  • Skinner Park (1331 W Adams St, 60607)

    • Monday July 26 at 10:00am and 1:00pm

  • Rain dates are scheduled for July 18 and 25

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 opportunity for children to meet the actors after the play.


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