NEPA Scene Staff

F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre announces free virtual Young People’s Theater lineup

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From a press release:

Today, the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre announced its spring lineup of new all-virtual shows produced for students and young audiences.

All six videos in the Young People’s Theater Series are available free of charge to teachers and parents and are available to stream at any time during the duration of their runs. Half of these shows are available to stream now.

Young People’s Theater Series spring schedule

“Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad”
for ages 7 and up – available now until June 30, 2021

This stirring drama with music shares in the joys, sorrows, and challenges Harriet Tubman faced while courageously freeing herself and hundreds of others from the bonds of slavery. As Harriet and her friend Sarah Bradford narrate her adventurous life, we get a closer look at this brave woman whose determination changed the world.

“The Little Red Hen”
for ages 3 and up – available now until June 30, 2021

This side-splittin’, foot-stompin’ musical adventure follows the Little Red Hen as her common sense meets the tricks of the conniving fox to lead the sheep, the cow, the horse, and the pig to a life lesson. Your whole family will have a hootin’ ‘n’ hollerin’ time!

“Jack and the Beanstalk”
for ages 3 and up – available now until June 30, 2021

This musical adaptation is a rollicking retelling of the classic fairy tale. Join our young modern day hero as he uses his imagination to become the famous Jack, climbing through the clouds to meet an ill-tempered giant, finding fabulous treasures and experiencing more adventures than you can shake a stalk at.

“Miss Nelson Has a Field Day”
for ages 5-10 or K-5th – available March 1 through March 14, 2021

Return to Horace B. Smedley School where the Smedley Tornadoes have never won a football game. In fact, they have never even scored a single point! With such a poor record and a team that is out of control, kindhearted Miss Nelson comes to the rescue when she enlists the help of her alter ego, the ill-tempered Miss Viola Swamp, to coach the team and whip them into shape.

Considered by all to be “the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world,” Coach Swamp applies her trademark discipline to the players’ training, demanding tough exercises and no back talk. In the end, the team changes their attitude, pulls together, sharpens their skills, and manages to win the biggest game of the year.

“The Snail and the Whale”
for ages 4-8 or pre-K to 3rd – available April 16 through April 29, 2021

Longing to see the world, the tiny sea snail hitches a lift on the tail of a great grey-blue humpback whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, told through live cello music and singing, storytelling, and lots of laughs. But when the whale gets beached, how will the snail save him?

Join an adventurous young girl and her sea-faring father as they reimagine the story of a tiny snail’s incredible trip around the world, inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved picture book.

With great STEAM and SEL connections, the performance vividly brings to life the story of “The Snail and the Whale,” which won the 2004 Early Years Award for the best pre-school book, the 2005 Blue Peter Award for Best Book to Read Aloud, and the 2007 Giverny Award for Best Science Picture Book.

“Jabari Dreams of Freedom”
for ages 8-11 or 3rd to 6th – available May 3 through May 16, 2021

10-year-old Jabari loves to paint. And through his art, he escapes the turbulent world around him and the reality of a friend hurt by police violence. In his dreams, he meets children and young people from the Civil Rights Era, including Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, and others who teach him how to be fearless. He also meets his hero, Barack Obama, as a 7-year-old boy on the eve of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Will Jabari be able to instill in 7-year-old Barack the lessons he’s learned and therefore ensure that Barack will have the necessary tools to become president? Will Jabari learn to take these lessons back into his own life and heal his community? Using rap, freedom songs, history, and humor, this play explores what it means to have courage in a world where black children, black boys, are not safe.

Teachers and parents can visit kirbycenter.org for more information. Questions and access to the stream can be directed to marketing@kirbycenter.org.

“Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad,” “The Little Red Hen,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” are presented by Virginia Repertory Theatre, a professional nonprofit theatre company with four distinct venues, an educational touring arm, and an annual audience over 530,000. Virginia Rep is the largest professional theatre and one of the largest performing arts organizations in Central Virginia.

“Miss Nelson Has a Field Day,” “The Snail and the Whale,” and “Jabari Dreams of Freedom” are presented by Holden & Arts Association, a booking agency that connects exceptional performing artists from all over the world with North American venues, seeking to create rich partnerships and share stories that inspire, educate, entertain, and empower audiences of all ages.

2020-2021 marks the fifth consecutive season that the Kirby Center has presented its Young People’s Theater Series free of charge. Over the past four seasons, more than 40,000 school-aged students have experienced live theatre as a result of this important component of the venue’s Arts in Education program. This season is the first time that YPTS shows are available to classrooms and homeschoolers virtually. It began with “Santa’s Enchanted Workshop,” which was available to stream in December of 2020.

This virtual programming is made possible the Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, the Bergman Foundation, and contributors through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program: Fidelity Bank, Lackawanna Casualty Group, M&T Bank, PPL, and Weis.