A princess, a frog and a group of travelers took the Newhall Family Theater stage on Saturday.
In the midst of telling stories about fantasy and community, the theater filled with adults and children laughing, cheering and applauding.
The stories on the stage were set to inspire. Inspire young kids to be a princess, witch and even a chicken, but by the means of acting and creating.
The Raising the Curtain Foundation presented its first “Saturday’s Kids” on the titular day of the week to introduce the Santa Clarita Valley kids community to the world of theater.
“We’re providing theater experiences for young children,” said Kim Pearlman, president of the Raising the Curtain Foundation. “Some of them, it’s their first time in a theater.”
As everyone sat in the theater seats, a group of 10 actors dressed in all black took the stage.
Director of the show, Donna Manfredi, introduced them one by one. They were introduced as “actors by night,” and as far as their “by day” occupation, all of them were different.
A sheriff’s deputy, principal and an exterminator, just to name a few, but all coming together on stage.
“They’re all local actors that are volunteering their time and we’re just really focusing on the experience of the kids,” said Pearlman.
Each cast member on stage became an example of what can be possible on the stage.
“Know that today is about imagination, creativity and silliness,” said Manfredi.
The cast acted out two stories adapted for the stage, “Fractured Tales: The Frog Prince” and “Stone Soup.” As soon as “places” was called, the stories began to present themselves.
Kids shouted in a mix to tell Mother Goose that the frog was either a frog or a prince. Hands in the audience raised with food items to offer the hungry travelers. Eyes peered under and around seats for a round pot.
These interactive elements helped not only move the story along but also allowed the audience to become a part of it.
“We want kids to walk away with an idea that they can make believe and make something out of nothing,” said Manfredi. “Take a broomstick and make it a cane, and bath towel and make it a superhero cape or a princess cape, and basically use their own creativity themselves. Now we also want to let them know that you can do theater, go to theater and be in theater your whole life.”
The cast joined hand in hand to take their last bow. The room filled with applause and the younger audience members’ eyes widened to know that theater can be a possibility on their path.
“We had this vision of creating this theater into that (of a) community theater,” said Suzan Solomon, governing board clerk pro tem of the Newhall School District, reflecting on being a parent in the 1990s. “To see all this come to fruition is just outstanding and now to actually see the programming come to life just validates the great support of the Newhall School District community for the arts and education.”
The kids each grabbed a stone with the word “sharing” on it on their way out of the theater, to then go paint with markers out in the courtyard. This small craft served as a way to further connect the kids to the story they just saw play out and bring it home as a lesson learned from “Stone Soup.”
They were instructed to give their decorated stone to anyone they wanted to share it with.
Mother Tash Gamper received an email in her inbox for the event from the Newhall School District. She jumped at the opportunity to share something she loves with her kids.
“I love theater and I think the more theater productions aimed at young children that you can go to is brilliant because I want to introduce them to it,” said Gamper.
A second installment of “Saturday’s Kids” is set for Nov. 4 with the two shows to go on at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ticket are available at tinyurl.com/2j2h2bds.