Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Get Silly with Sugar: Willy Wonka Activity Guide

Put your leftover Halloween candy to use and get in the candy factory spirit with these Willy Wonka themed activities before or after you see The Willy Wonka Musical.

If you're like Augustus Gloop and can't get enough chocolate, try your hand at making your own chocolate goop.

If edible wallpaper is your treat of choice, try your hand at this edible wallpaper.  It's the perfect project for cookie cutters and free hand cutouts.  The best part is, if you don't like your first attempt, eat it and start over!

Get scientific with some holiday mints, and learn all about the density of different kinds of candy.  What floats, what dissolves, and what does candy start to look like as it digests?  So many questions, Wonka helps you find the answers. 

If your life is lacking candy, don't worry.  Grab some string, sugar, and water and grow your own rock candy.  Make it extra fancy with the food coloring and flavoring of your choice.  How many colors can you create? 

You many not have your own fizzy drink that makes you fly, but what if you could make M&M's float?   Try this fun experiment, and think light thoughts!

Have some of your own Wonka inspired projects?  Share with us on social media

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dressing Up with The Night Fairy

There's nothing cooler than an awesome fairy costume.  So, with Halloween just around the corner and The Night Fairy taking flight on our new Second Stage in downtown Berkeley, we collected some awesome costume ideas to make your garden adventure with Flory, her animal friends, and foes even more exciting.

Accessorizing is key:

If you're looking for some classic fairy accessories to accompany the amazing outfit already in the dress-up box, try this tutorial for the perfect DIY wand and floral crown.

Don't forget to FLY:

If you're currently lacking the perfect set of wings, here's an easy tutorial to make wings for a fairy of any age and size.  Make some mom and me wings, or wings for the whole family!

Would you rather be another garden creature?

If you prefer eight legs over two, a beautiful garden spider is the way to go.  For a costume that will turn heads and only require a short trip to the hardware store, this tutorial will have you spinning a web in no time! 

If you'd rather fly than climb:

This cute bird cape is the perfect no-sew project.  Add a matching mask, or get clever with a headband, hat, or matching fabric braided into hair. 

Or, maybe you prefer life as a wallflower: 

Pick a favorite flower, or grab some friends to make a whole bouquet!  Copy your favorite flowers in your own garden, or what you see on weekend trips to the farmers market with this cute felt DIY costume. 

Whether you love to dress up during the Halloween season or year round, The Night Fairy is ready to inspire your next collection of garden fashions.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Donating Your Birthday to BACT

Recently, we caught up with Danyelle, who donated her birthday to BACT on Facebook last month. 

Here's what she had to say. 

Of all organizations to donate your birthday to, why BACT?

Facebook's algorithms are pretty amazing. I search for BACT show information on my phone frequently enough that the sponsored ads for BACT pop up a lot on my feed so when Facebook asked me if I wanted to start a fundraiser for my birthday, the images of BACT as a bright, colorful non-profit ad were stuck in my brain enough for me to remember them and search for them as an organization on Facebook. Social media ad exposure works!

But aside from that, my first experience with BACT has always stuck with me, a rainy Saturday morning, my son and I went to see Bloom Kaboom in Montclair and everything about it was magical. From the sets to the actors to the smile on my toddler's face. I was enchanted. 

My first experience with BACT has always stuck with me, a rainy Saturday morning, my son and I went to see Bloom Kaboom in Montclair and everything about it was magical.

What drew your family to BACT?

I was a new-ish mom looking for resources of things to do with my son on the weekend. I happened upon the Rookie Moms blog which led me to 510families which led me to BACT and it's been a favorite of ours ever since.

What shows have you enjoyed the most, why?

I've enjoyed every show but probably the shows that are for the very young because of the artistry involved in breaking down complex concepts into bite-sized, easy to understand moments for children. 

What do you value most as a family about your experiences at BACT?

I value the time I spend at the performance not glued to my phone and fully present with my child and what we are experiencing together. 

How do you hope your contribution will help bring tolerance to the Bay Area?

I hope that my contribution will help the organization further it's mission and bring the experience of the theatre to children of all backgrounds and income status because the theatre is not just for the privileged, it's an even playing field and everyone starts out the same and that's how life should be. Theatre is a space of exploration and expression and every child should get that opportunity. Putting your self in someone else's place and feeling their feelings is acting, empathy, and fosters tolerance all at the same time. 

 The theatre is not just for the privileged, it's an even playing field and everyone starts out the same and that's how life should be.  

BACT gets parents... They get that kids will need something so before a show starts so there are books or coloring pages, or the entire area of Fairyland. BACT gets that kids are wiggly and so there are interactive elements. I don't have to be worried that my kid will spoil something because BACT artists aren't expecting perfectly behaved children. I'll keep buying tickets and keep going to shows because my son loves them and I love seeing my son captivated by art, in any form.  

Thanks so much Danyelle for helping bring the joy of live theatre to children across the Bay!  Cheers to another great year!

Do you have a story to share with BACT?  Let us know! 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: An Enjoyable Show for Children

Check out our Jr. Blogger Kara's thoughts on the Very Hungry Caterpillar Show!

On Friday, I got to see the student matinee show of The Very Hungry Caterpillar put on by the Bay Area Children’s Theatre and inspired by Eric Carle’s books.  This play includes the books, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, The Very Lonely Firefly, Mister Seahorse, and of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The characters are life-size puppets controlled by puppeteers who use bars and their bodies to make them walk and talk.   The puppets themselves are colorful, majestic, and bright, especially the seahorse from Mister Seahorse.  The polka-dotted donkey puppet from The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse was neat because the colors were fun and the actors did a good job making him dance around.  I laughed when they played hide-and-seek.  It was like magic.  

The set was made up of moving set pieces that looked like trees, seaweed and lots of other things.  Also, the background would change color depending on what was going on in the scene.  The music and sound effects were captivating.  All this helped make the story come alive.  They had a narrator to help the characters tell the story; it really helped portray Eric Carle’s books well.

My favorite story was The Lonely Firefly.  It was about a Firefly looking for some friends to play with.  At first, he finds a lamp, a candle and a flashlight, but he can’t find any other fireflies to play.  Finally he finds his firefly friends and they joyfully dance around in the night.  I loved this production because it retold the story just like the book would.  I enjoyed the show immensely. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a show that young children would enjoy.    

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Teddy Bear's Picnic Activity Guide

If you and your little loved the immersive experience of Teddy Bear's Picnic, keep the fun rolling with these at home activities and treats.

Read the Book

If you don't already have this classic story as a board book, now is the perfect time to read it while on a picnic of your own!

Bear Potato Stamps

Get out a potato and some butcher paper for this super fun painting activity.  Help your little one create a bear paw potato stamp, and start creating bear tracks!  Where is your bear going?  What will they eat when they get there?

Bear Map

Keep the tempera paint and butcher paper out for this great activity as you work together to draw out your bear-finding map!  Where does your bear hide?  What kind of plants grow in that area?  Do any of those plants grow near your home?

Teddy Bear Toast

If you're not sure what to bring on your bear-hunt picnic, teddy bear toast will be a quick and easy hit with the whole family, and your Instagram followers.  Mix it up with bears on toaster waffles, pancakes, or even rice cakes!  What kinds of bears can you make?

Do you have any other awesome Teddy Bear's Picnic activities or book suggestions?  Tell us about it in the comments our on social media!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Letter From the Executive Artistic Director: Welcome to Berkeley Center!

13 years ago, Bay Area Children's Theatre was five dedicated artists and educators sitting around a table eating pizza and dreaming. 

This past week, we opened our very own space in downtown Berkeley. To be honest, my head is spinning a little in excitement and disbelief.  

As we were painting the walls, one of our amazing artists said to me, "Nina, do you want to write your intention for the space in paint?  Then we will paint over it, but the intention always remains in the room."  What a terrific idea!  So, I grabbed the nearest paint brush and wrote "CREATE IMAGINE PLAY".  

Here, in the land of the internet, I will take a moment to expand on those words and share our intentions with you.


At the start of any artistic endeavor is creation.  

As theatre makers, we create a world in which all that exists is you and the rest of the audience in a single moment. But, when introducing an entire generation to the joy of art as a part of their lives, creation is more than artistic.   We are sparking creation through:
· Conversations with family members or classmates
· Ideas inspiring kids to see beyond their own surroundings
· Worlds that children can jump in and explore

Our new Berkeley space will expand our ability to create with two dedicated theatre spaces and an interactive lobby, built for exploration.  


Imagination is raw material for building empathy and storytelling.  Every imagination is a muscle that needs exercising.  

In designing a production, we weigh and measure artistic possibilities, deciding how much of our design will be literal or representative, and how much should be left to the imaginations of our young audience members.
We love seeing drawings by children who come to our student matinees because it gives us an invaluable peek into their view and how they used their imaginations to fill in, around, between and through the lines to create a world uniquely their own.
Kids with healthy, active imaginations put themselves in other's shoes, looking at life through a lens of options and opportunity. Our new space will help us inspire imagination through interactive activities, performances and classes.  


PLAY is at the very heart of everything we do. 

Children learn through play, and when we connect with children, we transport ourselves, playing and learning with them. 
Through play, we  become children again and explore, try new things, see the world differently, and practice what we are learning.
This is why our classes incorporate play as a means of learning and why we strive to weave play with storytelling throughout all of our productions. This way, each class, each performance is new and exciting and different, seen through the eyes of our young audiences.
In our beautiful new space, we encourage play in our lobby, in our classes, in the rehearsal process, and in every performance. Play is what drives us, and what makes it possible for us to transform practicing what we’re learning to the magic of live performance.

I hope you will come visit us and share this dream come true as we continue to create, imagine, and play with you and your family. See you at Berkeley Center!

Think Playfully!
-Nina Meehan

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity Guide

Who doesn't love the classic tale of the Very Hungry Caterpillar?  Well, to prepare for the Hungry Caterpillar Show, we've rustled up an array of pre-show activities for you and the littles to try!

Caterpillar Macaroni Necklace

The whole family can dress up for the show with this simple craft.

Get creative with dried pasta, string, and cut paper, making your own caterpillar.  Match the classic book colors, or design your own!

Countdown to your performance of Hungry Caterpillar Show, but building your own caterpillar chain!  Who can make the longest?  And of course, don't forget the googley eyes!

Are you familiar with story stones?  They're an amazing way to explore storytelling in a tactile way.  Enjoy painting rocks to tell the story of the very hungry caterpillar!

Enjoy some nice leaf collecting and crafting with this fun project.  Who knows, maybe you'll see a few caterpillars while you're out there!

Got some other great craft ideas, or want to show off your creations on social media?  Don't forget to tag us!  @bactheatre. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rainbow Fish Reading List

If you and your little loved watching and reading Rainbow Fish, here are the next books to add to your reading list!

Here's our pick of books to read after Rainbow Fish!

Get in the spirit for our next show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with this Eric Carle classic, The Grouchy Ladybug.  Focus on concepts of time and space while following the ladybug's adventures.

For a slightly older crowd, the beautifully illustrated Stellaluna, follows a young bat attacked by an owl, who must learn to embrace the meaning of family.

Enjoy a great classic with Coduroy, in the tale of a bear waiting on the department store shelf for his new owner.  This one is even more popular today than in was during it's late 1960's release.

Stick with your friend Rainbow Fish in this more recent scale tale, Rainbowfish Finds his Way.  When Rainbow Fish loses his way, he finds new friends help him get back to his sparkle scale school.

Are there other classics about family and friendship you and your kids love? Tell us about it in the comments!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rainbow Fish Snacks

What do we love more than The Rainbow Fish Musical?  Food, of course!  If you and your kids feel the same, heres a selection of great snacks to enjoy before our after your trip to the wild, aquatic world of Rainbow Fish.

Fish on the River

It's a new generation of ants on a log!  For a quick, simple and nutritious fishy snack, combined celery, cream cheese, and goldfish crackers to create this line of fish swimming up stream.  Substitute cream cheese with nut butter or humus, for a savory, dairy-free protein boost!  

Under the Sea Cookies

These cookies are almost too fun to eat!  Explore the depths of the ocean by creating mini seascapes on sugar cookies.  Combine graham cracker  sand, candy rocks, and an array of gummy creates in these edible aquariums!

Jello Fish Bowls

For a snack that jiggles and wiggles, try these edible fish bowls!  Nilla wafer sand, berry Jello water and multicolor Swedish Fish create the perfect afternoon treat.  Add other gummy animals like sharks.  The possibilities for sea creature fun are endless.  Cast your spoon into this aquarium and catch a fish or two!

Do you have another other great Rainbow Fish themed snacks?  Other things you'd love to see on the blog?  Let us know in the comments! 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Our Junior Blogger, Julietta, LOVED Fly Guy, read her review here!

The Fly Guy play had me buzzing for more BACT plays! 

It was really amazing, and I loved the set especially. It was about a boy named Buzz who has a fly as a pet (it can even say his name!). He also meets a girl named Liz who also has a fly as a pet (and it can also say her name!). However, some people might not like the idea of it. They think of flies as pests, not pets.
The play is really funny and I really enjoyed it. 

So what about those people who think of flies as pests? Can flies really be friends, not foes? In my opinion, sure, if you prefer a very, very small pet that has a chance of easily flying away or causing chaos in restaurants, or maybe a fly swatter factory, if you go to one ( hopefully without your pet!).

The moral of the story? Check what kind of factory your touring before bringing your pet fly!
What do I think about a pet fly and if they are pests or pets? Well, during the play I felt like I needed to help Fly Guy and Fly Girl when they were almost going to get swatted, but being honest, I still do not want those flies in my house!  I'm thinking of them as kind of a mix, since they are a bit gross, but the play helped me see the pet part of flies.
But, even though I would never have a pet fly, I still loved the play and the books too.

The fly in the play is given personification to make him fit in the story better. For one thing, he can talk, like say Buzz, friendzies, Hizee, and more. The only thing about it is he can only say words with a Z in them (or at least words humans can understand.) . The same thing goes for Fly Girl too. So they are given personification, only more realistic. 

I'm excited for the next BACT play!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Rainbow Fish Musical Preshow Activities!

It's time for a #summerofsharing with everyone's favorite sea creature: Rainbow Fish.
Here are some fantastic pre or post show activities to get you in the Rainbow Fish groove!

Paper Plate Fish
If you have some spare summer BBQ plates, this is the project for you!
Just make sure your workspace is ready for some glitter!

 Write your own version of The Rainbow Fish Musical, or reenact scenes at home with these easy-peasy hand traced puppet!  It's the perfect group project!

This project is super easy, and fairly mess free.  Sculpt your fish and let them dry for a long lasting aquatic friend, or reusing the play dough again and again!  Are there other creatures in the Rainbow Fish story you can sculpt?

Whether you're gearing up for a weekend performance of Rainbow Fish, or want to keep the fun going all summer long, we hope these activities bring a little more Rainbow Fish into your life!

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

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

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

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!