THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963 Earns Chicago Children's Theatre Its 6th NEA Art Works Grant

THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963 Earns Chicago Children's Theatre Its 6th NEA Art Works Grant

Chicago Children's Theatre has announced it has received a $10,000 NEA Art Works grant to support the company's upcoming world premiere adaptation of The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963.

This marks CCT's sixth NEA grant in support of creating a new production for young audiences that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 is a civil rights era family drama based on the groundbreaking, Newbery Award-winning young adult novel by Christopher Paul Curtis about the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

The production, currently in rehearsals, boasts a script adapted by internationally respected playwright Cheryl L. West, is directed by highly acclaimed Chicago director and actor Wardell Julius Clark, features original music composed by Paris Ray Dozier, and boasts an A-list cast of professional theater artists both on stage and behind-the-scenes.

Past productions created or presented by Chicago Children's Theatre with NEA support include:

The Houdini Box, Chicago Children's Theatre's 2012 world premiere musical adventure based on the book by award-winning children's author Brian Selznick, featuring puppets by Chicago master puppeteer Blair Thomas, received two NEA Art Works development grants.

CCT's 2012 world premiere Red Kite by the Sea was a multisensory live theater experience developed specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). NEA's support of Red Kite by the Sea helped fund free tickets for audience members in financial need. In sum, 260 children on the autism spectrum had the opportunity to participate in Red Kite by the Sea, thanks in part to the NEA.

A 2016 NEA Art Works grant supported CCT's presentation of Thodos Dance Chicago's A Light in the Dark: The Stories of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, co-choreographed by Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos. Thanks in part to NEA support, CCT was able to offer touch tours for the visually impaired, and autism-friendly performances tailored to the specific needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Already this season, a NEA Art Works grant also supported the world premiere of X Marks the Spot, a multi-sensory theater experience created by Chicago Children's Theatre Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell that fully integrated patrons who are blind or visually-impaired, while giving audience members with sight the opportunity to tune into their other senses.

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