Childsplay Joins with 16 Children's Theaters to Honor Frontline Workers
Amid the global pandemic which has forced the temporary closure of many performing arts venues, 16 youth-serving theatres across the country have come together to share a national tribute, performed by children within each community, to honor frontline workers.
Led by Seattle Children's Theatre's Interim Artistic Director Kathryn Van Meter, the project titled So Many Heroes empowers and amplifies the voices of young people during this time.
"We will be forever changed by our current events, and forever connected and bound together by our shared experience of isolation. As we begin to redefine what it is to share space, there is hope in our future because we are resilient...just like the young people in our communities," said Van Meter.
Jeff Revels, Artistic Director of Orlando Repertory Theatre and writer for the nationally televised Memorial Day parade, presented the idea knowing that the network of theatres for young audiences could mobilize this tremendous effort. Together, Revels, Van Meter and Rich Grey, songwriter of So Many Heroes, began collaborating on what the national tribute could be.
"We have heard from the doctors and politicians, but not much from the kids of America. Writing musicals for young audiences has taught me how observant kids are. They see everything and absorb it all. They have been processing this like crazy, so, when asked to write this tribute, I knew it had to be in the direct, honest language that kids use," said Grey, emphasizing the importance of hearing from young people during this time.
Based in Tempe, Arizona, Childsplay is considered one of the leading theatre companies for young audiences in the United States, and is one of the sixteen organizations taking part in the project.
"I am thrilled that some of the young people from Childsplay's Academy programs are taking part in this national effort to honor front line heroes. The voices of Arizona children will be heard around the country - as well they should! Thank you to all who organized, assisted, and participated in this wonderful project." Dwayne Hartford, Artistic Director, Childsplay
Childsplay actor and Associate Artist Jon Gentry has spearheaded the project for Arizona's participation in the project, saying "So many of the parents and caregivers of our academy students involved expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to take part in this project in thanking all of the people on 'the front lines'. We also know our students are very much missing their time with each other and looked forward for this chance, if only virtually to come together to be a part of this tribute."
The tribute, which will be released on Friday May 22, can be viewed on the participating theatre's Facebook pages at 6 a.m. (HST), 9 a.m. (PST), 11 a.m. (CT) or 12 p.m. (EST):
Adventure Theatre MTC (Glen Echo, MD)
Childsplay Theatre (Tempe, AZ)
Children's Theatre of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
Dallas Children's Theater (Dallas, TX)
First Stage (Milwaukee, WI)
Growing Stage (Netcong, NJ),
Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Honolulu, HI)
Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD),
Lexington Children's Theatre (Lexington, KY)
Northwest Children's Theater & School (Portland, OR)
Oregon Children's Theatre (Portland, OR)
Orlando Repertory Theatre (Orlando, FL
Seattle Children's Theatre (Seattle, WA).
The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
Trike Theatre (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Wheelock Family Theatre (Boston, MA)