Tag Archives: New Kid

Theater + Science = Tolerance

Crayons -- a simple tool for teaching children that different is beautiful

Childsplay of Tempe has long produced and performed works that help folks see more of each other’s similarities than differences — and to embrace and appreciate the differences.

This weekend Valley families will enjoy a rare opportunity to see Childsplay perform “New Kid” at the Arizona Science Center — a performance meant to enhance the principles of tolerance promoted by the current “RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibit.

The “RACE” exhibit is a “limited engagement” offering you can enjoy at the Arizona Science Center only through Jan 2, 2011. It’s a multi-sensory, hands-on exhibit that’ll help you separate fact from fiction on the topic of race in America.

“New Kid” is appropriate for grades K-8, and addresses multiple themes relevant to the everyday lives of today’s youth — including bullies and targets, stereotypes and prejudice.

It’ll inspire your children to think more about immigration and emigration, language and communication, and different cultures and customs — and to consider ways we can all transcend differences and celebrate diversity.

“New Kid,” written by Dennis Foon, recounts the tale of Nick and his mother, who leave “Homeland” for the U.S. — where they must learn many new things. Think new language, new foods, new sports, new customs.

While one peer befriends Nick, another bullies him — and both Nick and his mom experience challenges along the way.

“Eventually,” notes Childsplay, “everyone begins to adjust and Nick learns to maintain his respect for his family’s culture and heritage, while embracing his new homeland.”

Childsplay’s “New Kid” resource guide, available online, suggests the following links to supplement learning about tolerance and related issues: www.teachingtolerance.org, www.bullying.org, www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov and www.census.org.

Childsplay also recommends three book titles — “Hannah’s Journal: The Story of an Immigrant Girl” by Marissa Moss, “The Hundred Dresses” by Eleanor Estes and “The Recess Queen” by Alexis ONeill.

Local mom Dana Wolfe Naimark, who heads the Children’s Action Alliance in Phoenix, recommends “The Sneetches and Other Stories” by Theodor Giesel (known to most as Dr. Seuss).

“New Kid” is being performed Sat, Dec 18, from 10:30-11:30am at the Arizona Science Center, located at 600 E. Washington St. in Phoenix. It’s free with paid general admission to the museum — but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lobby and ticketing at Arizona Science Center will open that day at 9:30am for members and 10am for the general public. (Savvy parents who aren’t yet members can join the Arizona Science Center today to enjoy this and other member benefits.)

I’ve raised three Arizona kids — and together we’ve enjoyed countless trips to the Arizona Science Center and to Childsplay productions. It’s no surprise, I suppose, that they’ve chosen careers in theater, cultural anthropology and science — and that they’re all active supporters of diversity and social justice.

Theater + Science = Tolerance

— Lynn

Note: The Arizona Science Center presents “Bio Buzz Family Series” free with general admission from 1:45-2:15pm on “third Saturdays.” The Dec 18 topic is “Vitamin D: Disease Fighter and Fountain of Youth.”

Coming up: More art and science — as “Stage Mom” explores a traveling Smithsonian exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth and the diverse exhibits of the Arizona Museum for Natural History


Walk a mile in my shoes

Yesterday was a half-day for my youngest daughter, Lizabeth, who attends a school for the arts in downtown Phoenix, so I decided to hit the area a bit early with my son, Christopher, and his nifty camera.

We've long enjoyed this sculpture located near Phoenix Theatre

I ended up covering only a mile or so in distance, yet I managed to explore all sorts of art offerings. As we approached the Phoenix Art Museum, we saw a sculpture that’s been located for some time near Phoenix Theatre.

This sculpture joined the Phoenix Art Museum collection on Dec 12

It’s quite different from the sculpture that recently took up residence on the lawn outside the Phoenix Art Museum. You can see it up close as you enter the museum or find it by looking through a peek-a-boo window of sorts along a wall that faces Central Ave.

Kids will love playing 'peek-a-boo' with this giant red dinosaur

Walk just across the street and you’ll discover a charming performing arts venue — the “Playhouse on the Park” located in the towering Viad Corporate Center. It’s used by several community groups for an interesting assortment of theater productions and other performance fare.

The Viad tower is home to Playhouse on the Park

Hop on the metro or stoll just a few blocks north and you’re at the Heard Museum — where I always seem to find both plenty of diverse exhibits and oodles of interesting events. Think hoop dancing contests, Indian markets, student art shows, films and more.

I've always enjoyed the architecture of the Heard Museum

This weekend it’s the “NU (Native + You)” event, taking place on “Free 3rd Friday Evening,” Dec 17 — from 6-9pm. The spacious grounds of the Heard Museum will be “filled with light from luminaria and candles” and guests can enjoy both music and traditional Apache storytelling (by Ken Duncan).

One of many sculptures you'll find in and around the Heard Museum courtyard

Cash bar. $5 taco bar. Classical guitar music. Vocal performance by the Xavier College Preparatory Honor Choir. There’s plenty to enjoy — just check the Heard Museum website for the fine print on what happens at which times. And, says the Heard, feel free to bring the kiddos.

Heard Museum grounds are especially lovely when bathed in luminaria and candlelight

There’s free admission to the museum and Berlin Gallery, and the gift shop will be open for those still doing their holiday shopping. Think rugs, jewelry, folk art, baskets, children’s books, holiday ornaments and more. Or shop for yourself –the good folks at the museum store won’t blow your cover.

This time of year, the Heard Museum gift shop features Christmas trees with ornaments crafted by American Indian artists

The Valley has several cities where walking just a mile or so will take you all kinds of exciting places. Watch for future art adventures as I head east, and west, in search of more places you can enjoy music, dance, theater and art.

— Lynn

Note: Stay tuned for more photos of our adventures at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum in Phoenix (the Heard Museum also has a Scottsdale site). If your child loves dinosaurs, check out the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa.

Coming up: New Year’s celebrations — some for families, some for grown-ups — but all with an arts twist, The fine art of dinosaurs, Growing up with Childsplay, “New Kid” comes to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Walk a mile — Mesa style

Photos: Lynn Trimble

Once upon a kindness

The finest of good deeds are done quietly. No expectation of rewards. No sense of self-importance. 

They’re just given. 

And not soon forgotten… 

Childsplay sets are stunning works of art

So it is with Childsplay, the Tempe-based professional theater company for young audiences and families, which opens its 33rd season in September. 

The first year I bought play passes for Childsplay productions, we weren’t able to use a single ticket. 

Our son was having a tumultuous year, as we all were, when a serious health condition became our constant shadow. A trip to the theater felt tougher than a trip to the moon. 

We mourned the loss of many things that year—the joys of children’s theater among them. 

I shared a bit of our story with one of the fine folks at Childsplay, who graciously offered us play passes for the following season. 

Life had settled a bit by then, and the light of theater chased many shadows from our midst. 

Childsplay extends learning beyond the classroom

I’ll always be grateful to Childsplay for that simple act of kindness. 

I remember it well each time they announce another season full of whimsy and wonder. 

I recently learned that Childsplay passes for the 2010-2011 season are an especially good value when purchased before June 30. 

When you purchase play passes, they’re deposited directly into an account created for you at the Tempe Center for the Arts box office, and you can exchange the passes for show tickets either in person, by phone or online. 

Friendship is a common theme for Childsplay

The play pass program gives you a chance to enjoy lower ticket prices, waived processing fees and the ability to obtain show tickets a week before they go on sale to the general public.

Tickets can be mailed to you, printed at home or held for you at the box office. 

This is especially lovely for those of us who find that dealing with tangibles like tickets and money is way beyond bothersome. 

Although passes will be available for purchase through September, you’ll enjoy the best discounts if you order before June 30. You can click here for all the juicy details. 

Childsplay offerings for the 2010-2011 season are:

“A Year With Frog and Toad.” Follows the adventure of two great friends—a cheerful frog and a grouchy toad. Sept 18-Oct 16. Ages 4+. 

Childsplay makes learning fun

“Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” Recreates the world of intrigue that is “Room One” in a trio of Barbara Parker’s best-selling books. Jan 29-March 6. Ages 5+. 

“Go, Dog. Go!” Brings the adventures of P.D. Eastman’s book to life in a frolicking musical dog party. Jan 29-March 6. Ages 3+. 

“The Imaginators.” Explores the power of make believe as three friends discover friendship, courage and cooperation. April 9-17 (two weekends only). Ages 5+. 

“The Borrowers.” Follows a family who live under the floorboards as their curious daughter begins to explore the world of the ‘human beans’ who live upstairs. April 30-May 22. Ages 7+. 

Each show has it’s own charm, and back-story. To learn more about individual shows, their creators and their characters, visit Childsplay online at www.childsplayaz.org

I lost my heart to Childsplay after that first act of kindness. But more than a decade later, I still feel a genuine heart-tug each time I see them perform. 

Childsplay is truly the gift that keeps on giving. 



Childsplay shows make great play dates

Photos from previous Childsplay productions of “A Year With Frog and Toad,” “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” and “Go Dog. Go!” courtesy of Childsplay

Note: Childsplay will also perform “New Kid” (tour only) and “Ferdinand the Bull” (national tour only) this season. They offer classes year-round and are now booking school performances for the coming school year. Consider getting extra passes so you can take friends along and have some on hand for last-minute birthday gifts.  

Coming up: An intriguing season from Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Preview of weekend arts events (including the “I Matter” performance this Friday night by youth in the Free Arts theater camp program), Valley theaters present new works