Monday, June 5, 2017

Construction Site Activity Guide

Do your kids love  Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site? Looking for the perfect pre or post show activity?

Grab your hard hats and get ready for some fun with these Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site activities


Counting
If you're focused on learning to count, this activity only requires your excavator, paper, and a handful of dried beans!

Painting
This project is a little messy, but tons of fun for the budding artist in your family!

Printables
If you're looking for more thorough preschool curriculum and activities surrounding the books, check out these free printables!



Sensory Bin
Get out some legos, beans, balls, and noodles to create a sensory bin that's eye catching fun for the whole family, like this one!

Enjoying these activities? Hoping to see more activities liked to our shows?  Let us know in the comments, or connect on Facebook and Twitter!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Reopening the Construction Site

Here's everything you need to know about the remount of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site!


Our new Downtown Berkeley home, The Osher Studio, is, shall we say, under construction.  And there's no better way to celebrate than with another run of the hit musical Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site.


Here's what's new:

If you liked Fly Guy, get jazzed because Ann Norland aka Fly Girl is joining the cast as Cement Mixer!

Jack Sale is returning to BACT to play Bulldozer.  Some may remember him as James in our production James and the Giant Peach that traveled to Shanghai a few years ago.

The rest of the cast returns, with their Heelys and hard hats to rock this musical from bath time to bed time. 


If you saw the show at Fairy Land, you missed out on a whole element--lighting!  Our designer Kevin August Landesman was nominated for a TBA Award for his outstanding design, so now you can see it in the Osher!

We're just starting to move into our new spaces, and explore expanding the stage beyond ways we used the space in shows like Fancy Nancy's Splendiferous Christmas, or Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. 

So, be sure to check it out, and help us think playfully in a whole new way!



Monday, April 24, 2017

Summer Reading List: Part 2

We're so excited for next season at BACT, we can hardly contain ourselves  To tide us over, we're doing some summer reading to prepare.  Join us!

Here's part 2 of our Summer Reading List!

Beautiful Oops!



One of the most exciting pop-ups for young readers, Beautiful Oops! focuses on the creative potential of our mistakes.  If you've already read it, consider these as companion pieces: The Dot and Ish.  And teachers, don't forget to join the Beautiful Oops revolution, fostering creativity through mistakes!

Judy Moody



For fans of the Judy Moody and Stink series, Judy Moody and Stink and the Mad Mad Mad Treasure Hunt, will be quite an adventure.  If you've already read all nine Judy Moody's, don't forget to check out the Stink collections too!  Our favorites include Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold and Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express.

Once you've run out of books, consider the classics Amelia Bedilia, and Beezus and Ramona.

Inside Out and Back Again


One of our new shows for middle graders, Inside Out & Back Again deals the the struggles of a young refugee, in this award winning debut novel.  After this read, check out Lai's second book, Listen Slowly, the story of a young girls vacation to Vietnam to learn about her family's involvement in the Vietnam War.  Both beautiful and poignant stories will lead to discussions about culture, heritage, and the importance of family.

So, what are you waiting for?  Hit the library or the book store, and start reading.  Next season will be here before you know it!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Summer Reading: Get Ready for Next Season

Finally, our 2017/2018 season has been announced!  We couldn't be more thrilled for our new home and new season of exciting shows for kids and parents alike!

Here's part one of our 2017 reading list to prepare the whole family for a season of Bay Area Children's Theatre fun!

The Rainbow Fish!




A favorite classic for anyone who loves a little sparkle and adventures under the sea!  If you're too young for Rainbow Fish, try The Rainbow Fish finger puppet edition! And for more Rainbow Fish adventures, check out Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar!




This classic sells one copy every thirty seconds world wide!  Looking for some companion pieces?  How about I love Mom with the Very Hungry Caterpillar--just in time for Mother's Day?  Or another Eric Carle gem, My First Book of Food, because it's never too early to become a Bay Area Foodie!

The Night Fairy



A longer read at 128 pages,  The Night Fairy as the question "what if a fairy loses her wings?"  If you're too young for The Night Fairy, author Laura Amy Schlitz just released her latest book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile last month.
 

Willy Wonka!


From the wacky mind of Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is one of his less terrifying pieces of kid lit.  Other less popular choices include Danny Champion of the World, and when the kids are ready to learn where all of these crazy stories originated, his memoir of sorts, Boy



Time to get reading, and check back soon for part two of our summer reading list!

Monday, April 10, 2017

More Learning! Fly Guy Facts and Fun

Flies are pets, not pests, according to our pal Fly Guy, so here are some resources for more fly learning fun!

Fly Guy the Musical

If you're looking for an easy guide to breakdown various types of flies and their differences, buzz over to PestWorldforKids.org

If you're a Kindle reader, Fantastic Facts about Flies, is a free Kindle Unlimited read!


If you've flown through the Fly Guy series and are craving another picture book, check out I. Fly, an illustrated education about the awesomeness of flies.



Watch the growth cycle of flies with this awesome video!


And for those who just want a little more of Fly Guy, the Musical, here are the fly facts from the shows' closing number!

Fly Girl and Fly Guy are amazin’
Two creatures to pique your fascination
Since craving more information
Listen as we list Linnaean classifications
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Insecta!
Diptera!
Section: Schizophora
They’re flies! (Flies!)
They have compound eyes!
A thousand little lenses let ‘em see from all sides
Antennae!
Can smell things a mile away!
And scientists say that if conditions are great
Some flies can fly several miles a day
Yeah, the buzz that they make is the sound of their wings beating
They have sticky, sticky feet that let ‘em walk on the ceiling
And the hairs on those feet let them taste where they’re walking
But they don’t have teeth, so they can’t ingest solids
So they vomit on food, because their vomit is caustic
And they suck it back up with a straw-like proboscis
(Ewww!)
Fly Guy, Fly Girl, oh Fly Guy, Fly Girl, friendzies!
Fly Guy, Fly Girl, or Fly Guy, Fly Girl, friendzies!
Yeah a couple of kids and their pets who were flies
Copyright Austin Zumbro 2017

If these fly activities don't fulfill your fly-loving needs, you could always make your way to Fly Guy, the Musical again!  It's even better a second time!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fly Guy's Favorite Dessert: Dirt Cake

Flies love gross stuff: moldy bread, rotten meat, and stale Oreo cookies.  Just one of the many things we humans don't have in common with our fly friends.  But, what if, just for an afternoon we could enjoy gross treats just as much as these bugs do?

Treat yourself to some afternoon grub with dirt cake!

fly guy the musical
Photo Credit: Food.com

The perfect treat for spring time, get your kid's psyched for Fly Guy, the Musical with this no bake, easy to make dirt cake!


fly guy the musical
Photo Credit: Food.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 Oreo package--double stuff or flavored will lighten the color of your top soil, but add fun flavor to the mix!
  • 1 16 oz. instant pudding package--chocolate will leave your dirt extra brown, while vanilla or banana will make for light colored layers
  • 1 16 oz Cool Whip--full fat is best to create extra fluffy dirt.  Our try non-dairy Coco Whip for a slight coconut flavor!
  • Gummy worms, or other fun treats to bury in the mud!
  • Fun container--clean plastic pot, lined terra cotta pot, or just some cups for serving!

fly guy the musical
Photo Credit: Food.com

How to make no-bake dirt cake:

  1. Mix pudding per box instructions.
  2. Grind Oreos into a soil-like consistency.  If you don't have a food processor, try putting the Oreos in a Ziplock and smashing them for extra fun!
  3. Separate pudding into two portions.
  4. Mix one portion of pudding with equal portion of Cool Whip.
  5. Start layering!  Layer pudding, Oreo crumbs, Cool Whip, and the pudding mix in whatever order you like, making sure to leave a thick layer of Oreo dirt on top!
  6. Garnish with creepy crawlers and enjoy!

Don't worry, if you think you made too much dirt cake, leave it on the counter for a few days, and Fly Guy will finish it for you!

fly guy

Get your tickets for Fly Guy, the Musical, before he flies away!




Monday, March 27, 2017

Peculiar Friendships in Children's Literature

We at BACT are a buzz about our musical adaptation of Fly Guy, but it has us yearning for other great stories about peculiar friendships.
Fly Guy the Musical
Buzz and Liz LOVE their pet flies

If you're in the mood for a book or two about unusual friendships, here's the reading list for you!

If you love the classics:

Curious George: Who knew a man in a yellow hat and a monkey could be pals?  Curious George stands the test of time.

Charlotte's Web: Always a tear jerker, your kid will spend the rest of their life searching for a relationship as meaningful as Wilbur and Charlotte's. 

Winnie the Pooh:  The hundred acre wood is full of unusual friendships.  Bears who love pigs, a boy who love bears, and a tigger that might love himself the most.  

Stories from BACT season's past:

FLY GUY THE MUSICAL
Where are Jame's friends when he needs them?

James and the Giant Peach: The musical was composed by this year's Oscar winners, Pasek and Paul, but the book is a Dahl staple, perfect for those who aren't scared of the creepy and crawly.  Not for those who have a fear of their own family. 

Elephant and Piggy: Like many animal tales, this series reminds us that there's nothing strange about the bond between a cautious elephant and care-free pig.

Ivy and Bean: Ivy is a little Berkeley, Bean is a tomboy at heart.  They couldn't be more different, but that doesn't stop these girls from a world of adventures.  The perfect way remind your child to not judge their neighbor by their quirkiness.  

For poetry lovers:

The Giving Tree: This beloved tale from kid-favorite Shel Silverstein has spent over half a century teaching the beauty of the life cycle, while reminding us all to go outside and hug a tree.

Fly Guy the Musical




Less talked about friendships:

Archy and Mehitabel: Because cockroaches and cats can be friends, especially when the cat's on her ninth life, and the roach is Cleopatra's latest reincarnation.  About as old as most cockroaches, this story has been around since 1916!

Flora and Ulysses: The unlikely friendship of a girl and a supercharged squirrel she rescued from a vacuum.  One of the quirkier tales from Kate DiCamillo.  What's not to love?

Hopefully these tales will get you pumped for the best of unusual friends of all--a kid and their pet fly!  So get your tickets for Fly Guy before they fly away!



 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Julietta's Blog: Interview with the Pippi Longstocking Stage Manager

Here's a few words from our Jr. Blogger, Julietta, about her experience watching Pippi Longstocking and an interview with Stage Manager Kat Pruyn!

I loved the Pippi Longstocking play! It is about a girl named Pippi who lives by herself in a house she calls 'Ville Villekula'. She is very strong and smart, but you wouldn't expect it! Her dad is a pirate that got lost in the sea, and her mother is in heaven. I really liked the part where Pippi hears about school, but doesn't want to go, until she hears about summer vacation! 

Pippi is very, very, silly, funny, crazy and everything in between!

I read the book Pippi Longstocking when I was little, and from what I remember, the play was exactly like the book! The actors really brought the book to life, and one of the great things was Pippi's monkey and horse. The horse was a hobby-horse that can move it's head, and the monkey was a puppet. Pippi came on stage riding her horse and then showed off her monkey.


So, if there aren't actors playing the animals, who does the sound effects for them? After the show, I got to interview the stage manager, Kat Pruyn who does exactly that.

As a stage manager, Kat does a lot of things, like make sure everyone shows up on time, and during the show, she controls the music changes and sound effects on the computer. 
She says it can be challenging being a stage manager, but it is really fun.
She loved the show because she is a big fan of the book. She read the book in elementary school and again before the play. 
It is her first time being a stage manager, but she has been an assistant stage manager three times for James and the Giant Peach, 3 Little Birds, and Fancy Nancy

It took her five runs to get things right for this show, she likes to keep notes to help her remember. 
Some shows are harder than others, but is still fun. 
She has been an actor when she was little, but now she designs costumes and stage manages.

During the show it was very fun to watch her stage manage, as my seat was above where I could watch her and the show. She was very focused, and only looked away from the computer to wait for actor's signals and to look at her notes.

It was great getting to meet her and I can't wait to see my next play so I can watch the stage manager more to see them in other plays!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Playwright's Perspective: Min and Sharky


Here's a post from Min Kahng,  creative mind behind Story Explorers, our new show designed for children with disabilities.

Story Explorers: Meet Sharky, the Story Shark!

Bay Area Childrens Theatre
Sharky and actor Austin Zumbro

First, Sharky is a sort of buffer between the children and actors, in case the human-to-human interaction proves undesirable.

One element of Story Explorers we are really excited about is Sharky, the Story Shark! Sharky is a soft, friendly puppet who serves many different functions in the show. First, Sharky is a sort of buffer between the children and actors, in case the human-to-human interaction proves undesirable. Sharky straddles that line between person and object, which can be more inviting for a child with autism. He was intentionally constructed with a singular facial expression, so there would be no need to read emotional or social cues. 


If a kid is feeling uncertain about a moment in the show - say, playing with clay - they might look over and notice that Sharky seems OK touching the clay and decide they will as well. 

Sharky also verbalizes in a nonsense "shark language," sending the signal that in our theatre space, everyone can communicate in their own way, without needing to follow the norms of verbal language.
Every interactive element in the show is offered to Sharky as well as the kids, turning the puppet into a sort of example or guinea pig. If a kid is feeling uncertain about a moment in the show - say, playing with clay - they might look over and notice that Sharky seems OK touching the clay and decide they will as well. Sharky is also very huggable and pettable. Lots of kids enjoyed interacting with Sharky in our classroom visits. In a few classes, they also immediately called out his name "Sharky!" when they saw him enter the room - which made me think I named him well.

For more info on Story Explorers, check out our website.  For more on Min's artistic endeavors, check out his website! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Splish Splash: An Actor's Perspective

This guest post comes from actor, Andrew Mondello, about the amazing experiences he has working on Theatre for the Very Young production, Splish Splash.

Splish Splash is one of the best places here in the Bay Area you can be. It will open your mind and heart to explore even the simplest aspects of life that we often overlook and forget to be grateful for. 


My very first thought after I first auditioned for BACT’s theatre for the very young show Splish Splash last August was “This is totally nuts, and I’m not sure I understand what is going on – But I know I have to be a part of it.” And luckily, just a few weeks later I got to be! 
        


 What is it that makes theatre for the very young so different from a normal children’s theatre production? Well the easy answer is BABIES, and as someone who is totally unashamed to go into full Dad mode and guffaw over how unequivocally adorable babies are – it’s a dream. But more than that, it’s the experience within the show. A typical children’s theatre production (not TVY) exists within the same realm as any professional production – there is the show happening on stage and the audience watching with a ‘fourth wall’ in between them - much like my previous show with BACT Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. Or from time to time, more often in children’s theatre, there is some level of audience interaction, such as my last-last BACT show Lemony Snicket’s: The Lump of Coal where the audience was often invited to come on stage and be a part of the show. 
  

Everything anyone in the audience says or does in the spur of the moment could instantly become a “main event” in the show.

         
Well Splish Splash takes that to the next level. The audience IS the show, the whole room IS the stage, and ALL of us there are living, breathing, and performing together. It. Is. Incredible. Everything anyone in the audience says or does in the spur of the moment could instantly become a “main event” in the show. Which as a clown trained to be aware of and use all stimuli coming at me at all times, makes this work extremely exciting and fulfilling to do. 
         
 All this comes from the idea that within the room no one can do any wrong. It’s a place for kids (and honestly, parents too) to get the chance to explore, unhinged. Of course, this is an idea that many parents have to ease into. When your child is the first one to stand up and make themselves a part of the show your natural incliniation is to worry and immediately tell them to sit down. But fear not! Because the cast will immediately lay away your fears with a chorus of “its totally fine, we love this! Please let them go ahead and stand up and dance, that’s great!” 
           

It’s a place for kids (and honestly, parents too) to get the chance to explore, unhinged.


 Once we've all agreed on these parameters (or really lack thereof ^.–)) any number of wondrous things can happen. From a little two year old running up and sitting in my lap mid-show while I was telling a story (one of the cutest things I have ever personally experienced to date – and one of my favorite show memories) to one child coming up to hug the giant puppet octoupus. Only to inspire another, only to inspire the entire room to get in a line to hug the octopus. You would never guess that so many different things could happen in the span of a 30 minute show. But they do, and that’s how we know we are doing our job right. It means every child is getting a chance to explore in the way THEY want to. 
         


You would never guess that so many different things could happen in the span of a 30 minute show. But they do, and that’s how we know we are doing our job right.


 The wonder of it is, that as actors we learn to explore just as much as the audience does, while keeping a show fresh every time, 5 shows a week. The saying is “you get what you give”. Well, with toddlers that is tenfold, because if you are not giving 110% then you will quickly find the audience is not exploring with you on the journey. As a professional actor – both these lessons are invaluable. Any actor who doesn’t admit that staying in the moment and reacting genuinely to every stimulus coming at them or keeping a show fresh and new every time after 60 performances isn’t a challenge, or wasn’t at some point, is lying. In school you are taught tools to tackle both these challenges but rarely ever given the opportunity to. Simply because school shows rarely run for longer than a week or two. With this show I’ve been able to put those skills to work and actually been able to have those muscles working to keep the show spontaneous and fresh every time. It’s truly been an invaluable experience and has made me feel better about all the work I do as a performer.
        





 So, whether you are an actor performing in it, a parent nervous about bringing your child to their first show, a seasoned children’s theatre-goer, a wily-coyote kid, or the shy and quiet type – Splish Splash is one of the best places here in the Bay Area you can be. It will open your mind and heart to explore even the simplest aspects of life that we often overlook and forget to be grateful for. 

From the sound of chime, 
and your favorite lullaby rhyme. 
To the gleeful squeel and smile of a child 
Exploring the seas and the ocean wild.
From a simple rub a dub
With your kid in the tub.
To a very rainy day 
While Mom and Dad are away.
From finding pictures in a cloudy sky
Making up stories as the time flies by
Down to the the simpliest little
Teeniest Tiniest
Wittle Bittle.
Water Drop.

Thanks for sharing, Andrew! Splish Splash is now playing in SF. Tickets at bactheatre.org

Friday, February 3, 2017

Kara's Blog: Pippi Longstocking, the Beloved Stories Come to Life

Here's a word from our Jr. Blogger, Kara, about the differences between Pippi on the page and Pippi onstage. 

Kara and her sisters show off their Pippi posters outside of Freight and Salvage.


Every BACT show I watch has a different thing that makes it special. For this

show it was bright, cheerful and surprisingly strong Pippi. The BACT play Pippi

Longstocking is based on the stories in the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid

Lindgren, which were first published in Sweden, in 1945. In comparison to the

books the play has the same great stories with the addition of lively songs, fun props

and exciting staging.

The story is about Pippi, a girl whose mom is gone and her dad

is a pirate lost at sea, so she lives all by herself with a pet horse and a monkey. She

is very silly and has red hair. She also wears mismatched stockings and a patched

blue dress. Next door are two kids named Annika and Tommy. They play with Pippi

and go on fun adventures with her. I really liked watching the book come to life as a

play. My favorite part of the play was when Pippi goes to a carnival and sees a

circus. During the circus the Ringmaster challenges someone to wrestle the strong

man and if they win he will give them a bag full of money. Pippi volunteers and then she wins!
Pippi challenges the strong man, and she wins!

My favorite characters were Pippi, Annika and Tommy. I like Tommy and

Annika because they are kind and they are very nice friends. If I ever met them I

would want to be their friend. I like Pippi because she is brave, clever, strong and

funny. She can get out of any situation and she is fun to be around. I really enjoyed

how the characters brought out their personalities. The actors who did this the best

were the robbers. The sneaky robbers had hysterical personalities.

Pippi and her pal Annika.




 I think Pippi Longstocking is a good play to watch with your family. It is funny, cheerful and the

perfect show to see.


Don't take Kara's word for it--see for yourself. Pippi plays through March 19th. Tickets at bactheatre.org

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hats and Hot Cocoa: Fancy Nancy Holiday Tea





The only thing we at BACT love more than Fancy Nancy is drinking hot chocolate with her!  Last month, some very special fans and donors enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa and a behind the scenes talk with Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas creative team members costume designer, Amy Bobeda, and director, Hannah Dworkin.




Hannah presented the model box--a tiny version of the set, and explained the role of director, making comparisons to the responsibilities of a teacher managing a classroom.  She demonstrated how the scenes shift from store to living room, bedroom to neighbor's house.  Amy displayed several mood boards--a designer's tool for conveying mood, color, and fabric ideas, while explaining the challenges of buying costumes rather than buying clothes, especially for adults playing children.

Generously hosted by Revival Bar and Kitchen (which is family friendly and now open for brunch!), families enjoyed delicious treats, cocoa with extra marshmallows, and when they weren't snacking crafted fun foam wreathes to take home. 

After the presentation and "tea," guests were surprised by a special appearance by Fancy Nancy herself!  They struck their fanciest poses while comparing boas, tiaras, and fascinators--a fancy word for "tiny hat."

Thanks to all those fancy and fabulous guests who came out for what we're hoping is our first annual Fancy Nancy Tea Party, and to our friends at Revial Bar and Kitchen for the scrumptious treats!

If you're interested in future special events, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on social media!