How young is too young for live theater? At Chicago
Children's Theatre, the answer is "you never are."
A co-production with Seattle Children's Theatre, "Dot &
Ziggy" is a show geared toward kids ages 6 months to 4
"Baby and toddler theater has become increasingly popular
over the last 20 years in Europe so I was excited," says Linda
Hartzell, Seattle Children's Theatre's artistic director and the
play's creator. "Live theater should be engaging, entertaining and
accessible. It's never too early to begin integrating those
qualities into a child's life."
"Dot & Ziggy" tells the tale of a ladybug and skunk
who are neighbors, but not yet friends.
"We use easy-to-understand themes such as 'alike' and
'different' to further the plot and to get kids involved in
storytelling," explains Hartzell.
As the two actors explore a friendship, children
participate in the journey both physically and verbally. In other
words, the theater is not asking toddlers to sit still and listen.
They are actively encouraged to do neither.
"Ultimately, our goal is for babies and toddlers to have
fun, feel comfortable, and recognize their physical and emotional
worlds through performance and playful experience," says Chicago
Children's Theater Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell.
To achieve this goal, the play also has to appeal to
parents, who also are encouraged to participate.
"Until now, parents here have never had the same
opportunity to spend quality time with their little ones in an
interactive, live theater experience that promotes early childhood
development, literacy and the importance and power of play,"
Performances will be at the Victory Gardens Biograph
Theatre. While shows will take place in a rehearsal room, they
still boast the high-quality costumes, set design and top-notch
acting these companies are known for.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.
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