It’s one thing to learn about Egypt by seeing artifacts owned by an Egyptian ruler on display at a museum, but it’s quite another to learn about Egypt by becoming an Egyptian. And being an Egyptian is the whole point of a summer program at Chicago Public Libraries.
Kidworks Touring Theatre Company will present 40 performances of "The Pharaoh, the Sphinx and the Curse of the Mummy" at branch libraries around the city from July 6 through Aug. 5. The program lets young theatergoers walk like an Egyptian, paddle a canoe down the Nile or ride a camel.
"We’ll be telling the story of King Tut’s life and then kids will act it out," says Andrea Salloum, artistic director of Kidworks Theatre.
The performances are part of an ongoing program designed to keep kids reading through those lazy days of summer.
The "Wrapped Up in Reading" theme works in conjunction with The Field Museum’s "King Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibit that runs through Jan. 1. The exhibit tells the story of Egypt’s 18th dynasty, the golden age of the pharaohs, through more than 130 ancient artifacts, gold and silver, jewels, alabaster and gilded wood.
The Kidworks production tells the story of King Tut through performances by storytellers, musicians and actors. Salloum and actor Tusiime Jackson will use Second City-style improvisational exercises and interactive drama games to engage the kids. Children ages 3 and up will travel through ancient Egypt by learning traditional belly dancing, trying doumbek drumming, building a human pyramid, bowing to King Tut, deciphering hieroglyphics and dressing like Cleopatra.
"Kids will gain a better understanding of Egyptian history by acting it out while encouraging them to explore the literature and reading," says Salloum.
Children who complete the "Wrapped Up in Reading" program will earn a T-shirt and can attend a special tour of the Field Museum.
Performances are limited to 30 kids and advanced reservations are required. Call Kidworks at (773) 907-9932.
For a listing of Kidworks performance locations and dates, visit www.kidworkstheatre.org or www.chipublib.org.