Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Partners in Fun

Bay Area Children’s Theatre and MTC join for new Theater Series for Young Audiences
A Guest Blog by Daunielle Rasmussen, Marin Theatre Company's Director of Education

I love theater for young audiences. It is a joy to see how young ones light up when they experience the magic of live theater. They are so engaged and present, connecting deeply to the story being told in front of them. One of the values that Marin Theatre Company holds that drew me to this organization is their belief that every child should grow up experiencing great theater. We want to produce great work that inspires audiences of all ages.

Ivy + Bean was the first show BACT brought to MTC!
When I first came on board at MTC, Jasson and I decided that it is a top priority to create extensive programming for families. Knowing that it will take several seasons to build the infrastructure needed to support producing a full season of plays for youth, I started to think about potential partnerships that would allow us to serve our young audiences more fully today. Up until this year, we produced one to two School Tour productions each year that toured throughout Marin County and the Bay Area. A few years ago, we also started presenting the School Tour onsite at MTC to engage neighborhood families in the experience.

Due to logistical challenges, I realized last December that we weren’t going to be able to mount the MTC run of our The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe School Tour in March and April 2013, but I didn’t want to lose our one slot in the year where we had been presenting work for children and families. That’s when the light bulb lit up in my mind and I thought that this might be an opportunity to pilot a partnership experiment to see how Marin County families would receive it.

When selecting a partner, it is important to find someone who shares similar values and whose work you respect. For me, I knew right away that I wanted to work with Bay Area Children’s Theatre. I first encountered BACT when I attended their production of Junie B. Jones and A Little Monkey Business in 2006. I was dazzled by the show; it was a magical experience made by people who have what it takes to make meaningful work for children that doesn’t pander or wallow in didactic language. Their work is smart, funny and innovative, engaging families with each other in creative experiences. Those are the values we hold in our own work.

The Cat in the Hat kicks off the partnership with MTC!
I reached out to Nina and she thought to bring Ivy + Bean, the Musical to MTC. I loved the idea, and the benefits of working together were very apparent for both organizations. With every show sold out, the MTC run of Ivy + Bean went even better than we had anticipated, so continuing the partnership seemed to be a no-brainer.

We are excited about this partnership as it creates the opportunity for us at MTC to provide a full
season of quality theater for young audiences in Marin County with a partner who, over the last ten years, has created a home for Bay Area children to engage creatively with their families and their imaginations.

We look forward to seeing you and the young people in your life this season!