Arden Family Series
- Tuesday, Sept. 19: Michelle and Friends
- Sunday, Nov. 5: Bobs & Lolo
- Thursday, Feb. 1: Magic Pirate Ship
- Saturday, Feb. 17: Morton the Magician In: Ta Da!
- Saturday, April 21: Kamikaze Fireflies
When parents think of children’s theatre, they remember some of the slapdash performances they saw as kids.
But children’s theatre today is much more sophisticated and professional. In fact, it’s often referred to as “theatre for young audiences” meaning the productions are not just puff pieces.
Theatre has many functions. It teaches about arts, culture and heritage. And when a script comes to life on stage, it links young ones to reading. But mostly, theatre connects the head to the heart.
The Arden Theatre has designed its Family Series as a five-part experience that organizers hope will stir imagination and creativity.
This year it includes music, storytelling, movement, magic, mask, comedy and circus arts.
“I wanted to bring in a few artists audiences were familiar with or had a good name behind them,” said professional programming presenter Neil LeGrandeur.
He cited Bobs and Lolo, a singer-songwriter duo that was named Canada’s Favourite Kids’ Entertainer in a nationwide CBC poll.
The four-time Juno-nominated recording artists advocate for the environment and they connect children to nature through music, movement and make-believe.
“Their music is highly entertaining, and their message resonates across Canada,” noted LeGrandeur. Bobs and Lolo appear on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Another group that’s made an impression is Kamikaze Fireflies, a blend of circus tricks, pratfalls and physical comedy. As an example, one of the artists even makes a sandwich with his feet.
Their specialties range from navigating people-size balloons and climbing stacked chairs to juggling on stilts and rolling inside a German circus wheel.
Although Kamikaze developed a regional fan base performing at Edmonton Street Performers Festival, the Saturday, April 21, 2018 show will be their Arden debut.
“They will be a strong finish to the season and with the International Children’s Festival around the corner, it will be a good warm-up to get the buzz going.”
The Family Series launches on Tuesday, Sept. 19 with a Noisy Theatre production arranged specifically for newborns to six years.
Michelle and Friends, an Edmonton based trio that performed at the International Children’s Festival, fires up the stage with quirky kids’ songs and toe-tapping classics.
“We want people of all ages to be exposed to the arts, and Michelle and Friends is a good entry point.”
Another Noisy Theatre show targeted to two- to six-year-old buccaneers is the Magic Pirate Ship starring the Purple Pirate on Thursday, Feb. 1.
In this one-man show, award-winning children’s performer Dustin Anderson illuminates through magic, dance, storytelling and special effects.
“He brings kids onto the stage and they participated in a mix of dance and storytelling. He’s very engaging and he’s very good with little children. He has a great flair for connecting with people new to theatre.”
The fifth show comes full circle as a theatrical half-mask production of magician Sheldon Casavant’s book Morton the Magician In: Ta Da! featured on Saturday, Feb. 17.
Ta Da! premiered at the 2016 Edmonton Fringe Festival, scoring 4.5 stars out of five. It’s the story of Morton, an eight-year-old junior magician eager to show off his tricks at the upcoming school talent show.
But he’s plagued by anxiety and nervousness. In his bedroom, decorated like a magician’s cave, we are privy to his tricks and dreams in this enchanting tale.
“Sheldon has done so well and I wanted to ensure we had an artist from the region. It’s important to help us grow our own, and he’s one of the brightest stars coming out of our region.”
Shows vary in price. Tickets range from $10 to $18 for adults, $5 to $18 for children/seniors. Children younger than two enter free at Noisy Theatre productions only.
Tickets are available at the Arden box office 780-459-1522, in person at 5 St. Anne Street or online at https://stalbert.ca/exp/arden/